Friday, 6 April 2018

Interesting snippet from supremo Barnett

'I'm in the process of getting those other players on board and both of them will be bowlers'.

Thus spake Kim Barnett, as quoted by The Cricket Paper yesterday and I am heartened by that news. While we would all quite like a top order biffer to put us out of sight in matches, the reality is more that last year we lacked five bowlers who could nullify the batting threat of our opponents. When you average, as we did, 170-180 with the bat, you should win more games than you lose and we lacked the overall bowling to make that count.

Imran Tahir did quite well, without perhaps being the force that we hoped for on more than a couple of occasions. We could bring him back, but for me the signs in recent months are of a star on the wane - he's forty this year, after all.

Hardus Viljoen was limping along for a good part of the tournament on his return after a lengthy absence and Matt Henry was, quite frankly, a huge disappointment.

Away from his giant six in one game and a fine catch against Hampshire in the quarter finals, going in excess of eleven an over is not why you bring in overseas players. I said then, and will again, that I would have preferred Jimmy Neesham to Henry, a better batsman and fielder and no worse as a bowler. He was the best of the three Kiwis we had a summer or two back and last year averaged 29 with the bat and was second top wicket-taker for Kent.

This year? Well, we have Ravi Rampaul, a bowler of massive T20 experience around the globe and an accomplished death bowler, as well as a hopefully fit Viljoen. With presumably Wayne Madsen and Matt Critchley to offer spin options as required, and Alex Hughes available, we have handy 'bits 'n' pieces' bowlers, but two additional front line bowlers would be a massive asset to Gary Wilson as skipper, and to our prospects overall.

One would assume that one of them would be a spinner, who might then be retained to play in the second half of the four-day cricket season. I would love a move for either Tabraiz Shamsi or Keshav Maharaj, but they will likely both be involved in South Africa's tour to Sri Lanka in July. Given they may come up against Jeevan Mendis in that competition, the challenge for recruitment is obvious.

The other, though would need to be able to handle a bat, otherwise the tail would start with Viljoen at eight and a seamer is more likely, I would think. Between Barnett and John Wright there should be enough contacts for someone suitable, capable of four good overs and useful tail end boundary reaching and clearing.

It shouldn't be long before we hear now.

I'm excited and curious.

Let's face it, those two names could make or break our season.

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