Saturday, 16 December 2017

Mystic Peakfan thrice foretells the future...

I think I should put on a coupon today, as three times this week my erstwhile comments have been shown to be accurate by subsequent events.

First up we had Luis Reece ending his stint in Bangladesh with a dazzling top score of an unbeaten 80 when opening the batting, when earlier, slotted into the unfamiliar middle order, runs were harder to come by.

Who'd have thought it eh? As I wrote at the time, there was no point signing him if you don't bat him in his regular place and it suggests that the selectors, while obviously able, don't always allow common sense to interfere with their work.

Then there is England's struggle, again, to bowl out Australia in their own conditions. Once more, while I'd love to claim the foresight of a Romany mystic, common sense dictated that on a semi-decent batting track a semi-decent Australian side would simply line up an attack that is squarely built around a battery of right arm, fast-medium bowlers.

Variety of your attack, at any level of the game, is a key to taking wickets. How often do we see the advent of a spinner taking a wicket, after batsmen have become established against fast medium bowlers? I hope that Derbyshire persevere with Luis Reece's left arm medium pace and Matt Critchley's leg spin, because they offer something different. If Hardus Viljoen returns from his winter overseas fully fit and Will Davis is fit for more than a couple of games at a time, that variety in our attack will help us to win games. Always assuming that the batsmen score the runs we need, of course.

Finally - and going back over a year to my original thoughts on this - we now read that ten first-class counties, Derbyshire apparently among them, have written to ECB chairman Colin Graves in opposition to the plans for the eight city 20/20  competition due to start in 2020.

Why? Because the framework agreement cuts them out of an ownership share that was promised back at the start, for 'legal and tax efficiency reasons'.

As long-term readers will know, I expressed my grave reservations about this competition and what it meant for the smaller counties when it was first touted. Promises were made to 'buy' support that never looked sustainable to me and the whole thing, then as now, looked like some Machiavellian sub-plot to first marginalise and then dispense with several counties.

Having been involved in cricket, from a playing, watching and reporting perspective for over fifty years, I can honestly say that there are plenty of people within it who, were they to tell me it was sunny outside, I would want to check before I put on my sun cream. As my old Dad, still sage and alert at 90 told me the other day once again, 'it's the best game in the world, but has always been run by the biggest idiots'.

Harsh? There are the well-meaning out there, but too many, in positions of power, who are out to feather their own nests, irrespective of the cost and impact on others. It has always been so and likely will remain that way.

If these counties don't stand together, the county game in 25 years time will be massively changed to its detriment. We have already seen the marginalisation of the four-day game and to those who question who attends these games, my answer is quick and to the point. No one does who is in employment, because the games are arranged for midweek when we cannot go. Play more games Friday to Monday, even if it means three divisions and six teams in each, then see the difference.

In closing, thanks to all those who have ordered copies of 'In Their Own Words'. I now have just two left, although Amazon have sourced more and it can still be ordered from your local book shop.

I will gladly post mine, inscribed as you wish, in time for Christmas, if ordered in the next couple of days. Price £15 now though, as they will need to go first-class on Monday or Tuesday.

Have a good weekend.

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