Friday, 9 February 2018

Thoughts on the overseas roles

 The overseas roles have gone to the leg spinners this week.

Adam Zampa has gone to Essex, while the outstanding Rashid Khan has gone to Sussex, both for the T20 this week, suggesting that leg spin is seen as the way forward for counties in that competition. I would have loved the latter at Derbyshire, but after his stint in the Big Bash and his big bucks deal in the IPL, he can name his own price. Not bad for a teenager...

With batsmen needing to generate the pace on the ball, quality spin would seem the way to go in T20 cricket. Fast bowlers can always devastate on their day, but if the radar is off the sheer pace only needs a nudge and it flies to all corners to the detriment of the average. Look at Tymal Mills, who had a shocker in the Big Bash because his length and line were wrong.

There is still no overseas news from Derbyshire, as we approach the middle of February. Having received two or three mails on that very subject this week, am I worried, or surprised?

No, not at all. There are, for me, several jigsaw pieces to fit together, before we could agree terms with an overseas player for the two halves of the championship season and for the T20. Whoever comes in may, or may not, be suitable for the short format, in which case we could be looking at three, possibly even four names.

The key, for me, was the auction for the IPL, which saw a lot of top players signed up, thereby making them unavailable for the early part of the county summer, but a few big names missing out. Several months ago I suggested that Jason Holder would be an ideal 'fit' for the county's early season needs, but since then, a well-known cricket website suggested that we were keen to sign Vernon Philander.

I would be surprised, given his recent injury record, if South Africa were to sign the requisite 'no objection' certificate to allow him to play here. Their full-strength attack is fantastic, but with question marks on the fitness of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, would they allow Philander to risk injury during a few weeks in England?

I suspect not, so if it was me I would be on the line to Holder's agent. He was surprisingly not picked up for the IPL, but would be a perfect fit for our needs. Canny and lively seamer? Check. Hard hitting batsman to make the most of closing overs? Check. Brilliant fielder? Check. There's much to like in Mr Holder.

Then there's the 'will he/won't he' over John Wright's return. That will largely dictate where we go in the hunt for T20 players. One option could be the return of Imran Tahir for the T20 only, the spinner having already confirmed he only wants to play in that. Or they could look for an alternative who could play both formats to the end of the summer, when there is an increasingly compelling case for Keshav Maharaj of South Africa, as Mark pointed out in the week.

He will be well known to our South African contingent and especially Daryn Smit, who will have kept to him many times for the Dolphins franchise. Maharaj is a fine slow left arm bowler who again can handle a bat pretty well, but who suffers because the national side seems to go heavily with a seam attack. I think a successful stint over here might be the making of his career.

If he was not available then my only other guess would be a return for Jeevan Mendis. He didn't let us down last summer, when he really played at the wrong time for spinners, and likely would do a good job again. He might score a few more runs too, on wickets with which he will be more familiar. His form has been so good this winter that he has earned a recall to the national side, for the T20 series against Bangladesh. He has 25 wickets in his last five matches, including ten in the last match.

Finally, there's the other T20 player. With the signing of Ravi Rampaul, which effectively covers the role of another experienced seamer that Matt Henry took last year, I think we should go for a top order batsman who can ideally bowl a few overs.

There's plenty of names out there who might do that and I'd not say no to someone like Glenn Maxwell, JP Duminy or Colin Munro, but we might happily forego the overs and take Martin Guptill back, I would think. Always assuming any of them needed county cricket as much as it could use them.

And as always, your comments are appreciated.


  1. Without any insight to the character of individuals, of the names being suggested, my preference would be for Holder & Mendis, especially if they overlapped for the T20.
    Holder appeals as I think County cricket would be a new challenge for him. Mendis because he appeared to have a positive attitude when he was with us last season.
    If we had both for T20 then we could have real batting depth, say Smit at 9 & that could have 8 possible bowlers.
    Hopefully an announcement soon

    Mark B

  2. Oh Peakfan, thankyou, thankyou, thankyou.
    I have had a major worry for the last few Months that our batting is a bit light and there has been constant reference to us looking for another bowler as our overseas. How nice it is to see your suggestion of a top order bat. I firmly believe that the right person could have a major impact on how our season goes.
    If we can't get Philander or Holder, and choose to go down the batsman route, I would love to see Tom Latham (if available) representing DCCC. He's a cracking bat and a good fielder.

    1. To be fair, David, I would only take a batsman for T20. I think what we have is fine for 4 day cricket and a top six of Billy, Luis, Wayne, Gary, Alex and Matt is a good mix. We also have Ben Slater, who has a big season ahead.I think both Daryn Smit and Harvey Hosein could bat top 6 if needed, so for me, bowling sides out twice is key.
      But in T20, a gun hitter to take advantage of Powerplays will be huge. Billy did better last year, but there's always room for improvement!

  3. Having heard Kim's opinion of Kiwis expressed at the forum, l would be surprised if we signed any New Zealand cricketers!

  4. Point taken Snapper. However I don't think Mr Barnett should be closing off oversea's cricketers from any nation.
    We only need to look back at our recent history to discover we've had big named South Africans and Sri lankans who were, to put it mildly, pretty useless in DCCC colours.

  5. Shame Snapper I would have Guptill for t20. Would also make him captain. Can’t have your captain going on international duty mid tournament like last season. Ludicrous. My ideal selections would be: Philander early CC and RLODC. Then Maharaj for latter part of season including t20 perhaps. The other t20 player I would love is Maxwell. Useful bowler. Bit of a golden arm. Could bat 3. Would mean Reece to open and Madsen still at 4. Something like this:

    Smit (w/k)

    We could perhaps play an extra bowler. Would have played Cotton myself but he’s no longer here so Davis perhaps with some wide Yorkers and occasional short ball. So many bowling options which I like as big fan of bowlers doing 1-2 overs so it’s harder for oppo to get a rhythm going.

    1. Decent line up Mark, subject to those personnel being available! And of course we dont know when Gary Wilson will be needed for Ireland training camps and matches...

  6. To be fair to Kim, Mark, I think he felt badly let down by messrs Rutherford,Neesham, Broom and Henry. I'm sure if he felt there was half a chance of signing someone of Martin Guptill's quality he wouldn't turn it down.

    1. I reckon he wouldn't mind a John Wright, Martin Crowe, Richard Hadlee or Jeetan Patel either!

  7. Have to say Mark, that if the team you suggested earlier was taking the field for our first T20 game, I would be a very happy man.

  8. And so say all of us, David!

  9. Tom Latham is playing for Durham this year so that's not an option

    I wonder if Shadhab Khan could be the choice for spinner that bats for second half of season - he'll be over for the Pakistan tour anyway


  10. Thanks Luke - I meant to point that out and forgot!

    Shadab? Looks a genuine talent but it would be a huge leap of faith to pin your hopes on a 19 year old with only 7 first class games. Very much in the 'extremely bold, but quickly castigated if it goes wrong' category.

    It could happen, but I think we would want greater experience than a lad who has never bowled here

  11. Hi PF;

    On some areas of cricket I'll happily state my ignorance. One is that I never know which country is touring this year, and another is which Overseas players have signed for whom and for how long, as is really why I temper my question to " what do you think of Phehlukweyo as a player " ?

  12. I think he is a talent, Steve, but at 21 I dont think him yet strong enough in either discipline for an overseas role.

    He can hit a ball, but often seems a last resort bowler who does take wickets. In a year or two I could see him being a real player, but not quite there consistently for me at present

  13. Hi Peakfan Blog,
    This is my first message and I just wanted to say how much I enjoy reading your articles and what a great blog you have. Keep up the good work! Just to add to the general discussions, I really think to build on the great success in the T20 last season, one of the overseas slots needs to be a top six batsman in this format for 2018. More power at the start of the innings is crucial to try and secure that elusive Finals Day slot, rather than opting for two overseas bowlers as seen last year. Martin Guptil or Glenn Maxwell for 2018 would be excellent. Do Derbyshire have the player budget for this, though? Could the release of Cotton, Taylor, Milnes etc be to help fund star names in the T20? The second T20 slot should ideally be taken by a spinner. Tahir or Mitchell Santner perhaps? For me, the first choice names for this season in the Vitality Blast would be Guptil and Santner if both are available for an uninterrupted stay.

  14. Hi Great discussion on the much awaited announcement of new signings, Martin Guptill would be fantastic, he knows us and English conditions, I dont think he was picked up in IPL and think NZ have no cricket April - Oct, so would he be an option for all season? Glen Maxwell has been a consistent performer, but I assume that now the OZ selectors have realised this, and his performances in BBL and against England his fee will have rocketed..... unless he was actually signed weeks ago and announcement is just a timing issue to get a rush of preseason members. What about an Aussie, there seemed to be plenty in BBL doing some damage?

  15. More and more I think about it Guptill would be my choice for t20. I think we have enough bowling options and part timer spinners. Also I would like areece to stay at 3 and Madsen at 4 so an opener to take the Godleman role would be grest. I would keep Critchley as an opener and well done to him on his Lions call up. Great stuff.

  16. For T20, if we went down the Guptill route we would no doubt strengthen our batting, especially in the powerplay. The flip side is that we would then have to bowl 8 overs minimum from Madsen, Critchley, Hughes & Reece (assuming that Viljoen,Rampaul & overseas bowl 12). I am not convinced that this is better. The happy compromise would be a Stoinis like player who would strengthen the batting and provide a bowling option

  17. Or just Guptill for t20 after his 100 today?

  18. Actually looking at the tweet by the club again it has the vitality blast logo on it so assuming it will be a signing for the t20
    Assuming we go for a spinner then it has to be either a batsmen (Guptill) or maybe a finisher/all rounder type (Corey Anderson I’ve always liked) not long to find out

  19. Just researching and I assumed Santner had already been picked up. He would be excellent for second half of the season and t20. I can’t see him as listed on ecb website on the ins and outs. I swear he had been picked up but maybe I was wrong. He is much more capable than Tahir with the bat. You can tell I am excited haha.


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