The excellent and universally acclaimed signing of Mitchell Santner by Derbyshire for 2018's T20 competition has certainly confirmed their focus for the summer.
As I wrote yesterday, the world's number one T20 bowler will be an excellent weapon in the short format, though his record in the four day game needs a little work. He should give them control at the very least in the county championship, and will certainly add depth to what looks a useful batting side.
For the T20, however, we are now missing only the final jigsaw piece. If everyone is fit, there is an excellent side taking shape and I would expect us to come close to emulating, or perhaps even surpassing last year's quarter-final placing.
There are two ways we could go from here. The first, as espoused by several contributors to the blog, would be a top order blaster, someone who, with the likely partner of Matt Critchley, could really take advantage of the Powerplays.
Everyone's fantasy pairing would be Martin Guptill with Mitchell Santner, I'm sure, which would allow Billy Godleman to focus on the RLODC and county championship. Billy was much improved last year and produced a couple of top knocks, but any opportunity to re-sign Guptill, or perhaps Colin Munro, should be taken. That would then give us a notional side of:
That would give three front line bowlers, with the remaining allocation shared between Madsen, Critchley, Hughes and Reece. Madsen was outstanding last year, until Shahid Afridi played his one innings of the summer, while the others are all capable of doing well on specific tracks.
The alternative, I suppose, is that we sign an all-rounder and someone like Marcus Stoinis or Andre Russell would have a lot to offer. Stoinis has become a fixture in Australian one-day sides of late, while Russell has an outstanding T20 record as a fast bowler and big hitting batsman. Earlier in the week, he hit nine sixes in an unbeaten century against Kent for Jamaica, but it is likely that he may opt for the Caribbean Premier League in the summer. Equally it may be possible to persuade Jason Holder that a first half of season, including a spell as a T20 player, might show the IPL what they missed in not selecting him this year.
There are options out there and, with the season fast approaching, I don't expect there to be too long to wait now to find those final positions filled.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend.
In just over two months we will be back on the 3aaa County Ground...