Friday, 30 March 2018

Three weeks to go

On this very day in three weeks time I expect to be on the 3aaa County Ground for the start of the new cricket season. You will recognise me by the bags under my eyes, courtesy of a 4am rise to get to the ground in time for the start of play.

It is always an exciting time of year and one which promises to be quite special for Derbyshire fans.
Whether we can carry home some silverware is a moot point, but I do expect us to play a brand of aggressive, exciting cricket with a lean, strong squad.

Yet there is still much to do with that squad and that is my only concern at this stage. We have an excellent overseas choice in Duanne Olivier for the first half of the summer, but after that we have question marks. There is no overseas player for the second half of the summer, with Mitchell Santner having pulled out through injury, and we as yet have no one engaged for the T20.

It makes my planned season preview of next weekend somewhat problematic, as the right overseas signing can galvanise a side and make the difference between winning and losing matches. We really need a quality spinner for the second half of the summer, whether that player fulfils the dual role of T20 and four-day cricket or not.

I have seen suggestions this week that we should make a move for either Steve Smith or Dave Warner for the short form, but disagreed, even before the ECB confirmed that none of them will play in England this summer. Somerset quickly cancelled the contract of Cameron Bancroft and that was absolutely the right thing to do. The three of them have every right to a correct and proper rehabilitation in the game, just as anyone else does who has made a mistake in life.

Yet the 'circus' that will surround their reappearance in the game will not be for the faint-hearted. While time will heal to some extent, a raucous, boozed-up T20 crowd will be unforgiving and it is inevitable that the players will take stick from opposition fans and that may not be conducive to the building of the requisite team spirit.

I would still like to see us sign a top order batsman, one who bowls being a bonus. With Martin Guptill now signed by Worcestershire, many people's first choice for the short form has gone, but there's still Glenn Maxwell and AB de Villiers...

A man can dream!

With the players hard at work, they will soon be joined by those from distant lands, with Ravi Rampaul, Hardus Viljoen and Duanne Olivier all getting here in the next week or so.

Let's hope that they can quickly get flight stiffness out of their legs and be fit and firing for the visit of Middlesex.

Finally today, I will be setting up the Peakfan Blog Fantasy Cricket League over the weekend. I do hope that a lot of you get involved and start selecting your dream eleven for the start of the summer.

Have a great Easter!

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