A Sentimental Education in the Peak District

You can’t really blame Derbyshire but, as England’s brave but increasingly battle-worn boys take on Australia in Tasmania, it was hard for Third Man to see the sense in providing Australian Test tyro, Usman Khawaja, with opportunities to develop his game playing eight Championship matches, all the county’s Twenty20 group matches and six of their CB40 games, oh and probably pick up a cheque for £40,000.

Peak Fan  welcomes the move, writing that it has ‘captured the imagination of most, something that will hopefully be translated into positive action at the gates of grounds.’

And at This Is Derbyshire  John Morris, Head Master of Cricket at the County, is quoted as saying, ‘the move to Derbyshire should be a key stage in his cricket education,’ and that the young man is, ‘keen to come over here, learn his game and score runs’. 

No doubt he is.  Who would not want such a chance especially with the 2013 Ashes in mind. 

Is Third Man the only one who thinks that this is madness?

This is a one way street with our young cricketers having to pick up the scraps in Grade Cricket, sleeping where they can and making ends meet with menial employment – a true apprenticeship.

If this young man wants to develop his game, he should be free, work permit permitting, to find some Premier League club where England and Wales cricket will at least get the benefit from young county second teamers sharpening their skills against him.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “A Sentimental Education in the Peak District

  1. diogenes

    I agree with you here 3rd man. There is a case for taking on youngsters and helping to develop them – as Hants did with Gordon Greenidge, and Somerset did with Viv Richards and Greg Chappell, and didn’t Allan Border spend some time as a junior at Glos. It benefitted the game of cricket even though England as a Test side certainly did not benefit. There is a case for taking on an overseas player as a grizzled old pro – Notts with Dooland and Sobers, Lehmann at Yorkshire, Border at Essex, Warne at Hants. They help to inspire the youngsters and, in many cases, their international careers are over (eg Lehmann and Dooland of the examples I have given, unimaginable though it seems). It is hard to make the case for someone like Khawaja who is at the stage where his Test team should be developing him.

    However, you could also say that such things have always happened – Asif and Shepherd at Kent, Zaheer at Glos, Imran Khan at Sussex, Majid and Miandad at Glam. I think the fact is that there are always too few players of real first-class quality thrown up by the system. Look back at any Northants or Derby team or Leics team and ask just how many of these players were genuinely first-rate? The same also goes for the glamour clubs such as Kent, Surrey, Lancs, even Yorks once the glory days of the 60s were over. Lans in the 70s had Barry Wood, Frank Hayes and David Lloyd who went on to Test cricket with varying levels of success but the side also contained John Sullivan, Ken Snelgrove, “flat” Jack Simmons who were never remotely going to set the world on fire. Think of Warwickshire, who at one time had Kanhai, Gibbs and Deryck Myrray turning out for them regularly – were they crowding out genuine stars of the future? Provided the foreigners are of genuine first-class standard, then it should improve the game overall.

  2. Regarding reciprocity, there is a difference in the relative quality of imports under consideration, England always tour somewhere in the Australian summer, England Lions normally too, so we are talking about the 31st best player in England. Assuming a relatively even talent distribution, with only 6 sides, the 31st best player is the 5th or 6th best player in a Shield side. Hardly worth having.

    A player in Australia’s first or second XI is generally going to be in the top 36 players in England, making him the 1st or 2nd best player in any county side. If Australia expanded their Shield comp to 10 sides (as they should) then Shield sides might see some benefit in having an English player in the ranks.

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