I got an email yesterday that suggested I was 'harsh' in saying, in my season review, that only two Derbyshire players had good seasons.
I don't think I was and my comments were borne of looking at the club having a good team in the making. That being the case, you judge by higher standards. If we are happy to be a nice club that plays decent cricket, winning a few games along the way, then a batting line-up averaging thirty-plus across the board is just dandy.
But you will win little with such figures, unless you have a bowling attack that takes its wickets at around twenty each.
As I pointed out, Wayne Madsen, a man for who I have the greatest respect and admiration, had a wonderful T20 but will be the first to admit, I am sure, that his four-day average didn't reflect his talent. The same goes for Billy Godleman, a consummate professional, and as the two key components of our batting they fell short this summer in the county championship.
I am sure that they will be back to their regular scores next year, though I would still prefer to see Billy concentrate on the RLODC and championship. They deserve to be joined in a notional batting line-up for the four-day game by Luis Reece and Alex Hughes, the two players who I said had across the board good summers.
Then you get into more complex issues. Matt Critchley had an improved season and needs first team cricket to push on further, probably batting at six, though whether he becomes a spinning all rounder time will tell. Ben Slater could easily bat in the top three, but as I wrote yesterday, needs to convert a number of impressive cameos into three-figure, career-defining scores. I love watching him bat in his busy, all-action style, but those big scores need to come more often.
There's also what happens with the Shiv Thakor situation and I would urge all contributors to be sensitive to the niceties of the legal system in comments this week. I will make none until it is all done and dusted and, like you, I hope, will let things take their course.
I think we are a reliable batsman light, for what it is worth. I see little point in signing an up and coming batsman of potential and a twenties average, when we have let one go, in Tom Wood, who might have managed that and more. Neither is there point in signing one whose best days appear to be behind him. We have a lot of batsmen who can average in the thirties and need one whose statistics suggest better.
An overseas bowler who can bat would be handy for the first half of the season, but Tom Taylor has the ability with bat and ball if things just 'clicked'. Like Tom Milnes, we know he can handle a bat and score valuable runs, just as they can bowl a wicket-taking ball. Yet both give away too much around those balls. Call me old school, but on anything other than a shirt front I want to see my bowlers going for less than three an over. I'll make an exception for express pace, because the edges fly, but twenty overs for a hundred is way too profligate for me.
In short? We need another batsman and at least one more quality seamer. Harry Podmore did OK, but I am still unsure if he is noticeably better than the 'internal candidates'. Conor Mckerr was, but I would be astonished if we could lure him from Surrey. Nor am I sure what happened with Gurjit Sandhu, who had a decent debut against Durham and was never seen again. Maybe this is the winter that Taylor and Cotton put it all together, but next year will be a big one for each, the last of their current deals.
There are places to be earned and competition for them.
That can only be a good thing.