Interesting news from the Mansfield Chad newspaper yesterday, with an interview with Alex Hughes saying that he had stayed home this winter to work on his bowling.
Alex had an excellent summer last year with the bat, but his bowling became that of a bit part operator, largely seen only in T20 cricket. I think he is capable of more than that and has the ability to become a Darren Stevens-style bowler, albeit bowling at around twice the pace...
What chances he has to bowl this year will depend on the fitness of the main seam contingent, but if only to give a little variation in pace, a few overs in certain conditions will be worthwhile. Just as long as it doesn't detrimentally affect his batting, it works for me.
Meanwhile, over at The Cricketer, their 'player to watch' at Derbyshire is James Kettleborough. Now that strikes me as pretty odd, given that he has been signed as second team skipper. I don't doubt that he has the talent to score heavily and his experience will enable him to offer runs in that side for an otherwise likely young eleven.
Yet I don't see him as an automatic first team selection this summer. Notwithstanding an excellent 2017, in which he scored runs in our second team as well as heavily for Bedfordshire, I think Derbyshire will use this year as one in which to watch him closely. If he makes a good fist of the second team, leads astutely and scores heavily, there could be a role for him in 2019. At 25 he still has time on his side and it makes sense from that perspective. Injuries or loss of form could also see him elevated, of course, but in the ordinary run of things, he is down a lengthy pecking order.
To suggest him as the player to watch means either that the correspondent knows something we don't, or that they have disregarded the claims of Matt Critchley, Will Davis or Hamidullah Qadri, as well as Luis Reece and Alex Hughes.
Very odd indeed.
Finally today, the club's planned weekend fixtures have both been cancelled, which tells its own story about starting the cricket season in early April.
It snowed almost all day here yesterday, on a day more worthy of November than early Spring. On the evening walk with Wallace, most of the front gardens we passed were under water.
So spare a thought for Neil Godrich and his team, who have a tough job getting the ground ready in the next two weeks for the opening game against Middlesex.
For what it's worth, I reckon we will be batting on day one.