Welcome to my first blog on the new website, and it’s a great time to be writing it, the Ashes safely in the bag, the Cricket World Cup about to start and the longer days mean the pre season period is very close.
I hope to be able to blog on a regular basis, looking at all things cricket, from local, to county and international, maybe with even a little football chat from time to time, if I am allowed.
England having won the Ashes, I predicted a two one win for England, but was very happy to be wrong, and how they deserved to win, they played good cricket for most of the series, with perhaps the odd blip. Alastair Cook's performances showed how good a player he is, and how strong mentally he is to cope with all the fuss about his technique, and still score more runs than anybody in the modern game on an Ashes tour. What a long tour it has been though, the one day series spoilt the fantastic tour for Team England. I'm not surprised Andy Flower had so much to say at the end of the tour about the fixtures, I had a little whinge before Christmas about the county schedule, the administrators really do need to think about the players, and the quality of cricket that is being served up to the paying public.
It is all very good having these tours, but it was no surprise that so many players got injured and the series seemed to draw on for so long. I gave up in the end watching the one day series, it bored me, unlike the Ashes, I really enjoyed that, and really enjoyed watching the Aussies get beaten.
The next stop is the Cricket World Cup, and the excitement that hopefully will bring to cricket watchers the world over. I did briefly have a chat with Treddy last Friday, whilst on his whistle stop trip home to see his wife and family. It is great for him and all at Kent to have a player on the trip, it will add to the focus of watching the competition. I'm not sure how much he will play, you would expect Swann to be the first spinner, and probably Yardy the second, but on some of those dry wickets it may come down to extra options, although KP could always turn his arm over, that may even keep him in the team, no only kidding, I think he will be a real star of this world cup, I think he will need to be at his very best if England are to add to the T20 World Cup and the Ashes in one year.
My prediction for the world cup, is India, South Africa or Sri Lanka to win it, and I think all three have the best balance to the squads, the two sub continent sides have home advantage and certainly have match winners throughout their squads. Watch out for Angelo Mathews in the SL side, he is going to be one of the best in world cricket for many years to come, and don’t rule out the legend, Murali wanting to go out of International cricket with a real bang!!!
A one day tournament like the world cup is tough, but to be played on the sub continent with the problems they will have with travel, the intense heat and humidity, plus the slow wickets will make the winners, well and truly worthy winners, it will be a test of so many things other than just taking wickets and scoring runs. The sub continent is a great place to play, the people love their cricket, they love to see the best players in the world and they are very keen students of the game.
The county season is just around the corner, I can't wait for it to start, there is so much to look forward to, and with hopefully a more settled club, on and off the field it could be a good year for us. I am happy to predict how others will do, but not so keen to predict how we will do. We do have some young players who need to continue to work hard and show progress, that is always a tough challenge for any young player, they also need the senior players around them to guide them at times. We are lucky that we have some excellent role models and senior players who help our youngsters.
We will have one of the smallest squads in county cricket, but that does mean the young guys will get a go, and there is nothing worse I think than having 24 or 25 players on the staff, with quite a few knowing they have no chance of getting a game. This way will mean the young lads who play well will hopefully get the chance to show what they can do.
This last twelve months has seen us sign five young players onto the staff, Bell Drummond, Ball, Piesley, Riley and Billings. All are exciting young players, all are home grown and all have the ability to be top players, but do they have the drive and desire to be as good as they can be. Only time will tell on that one. It is also great news that Mat Coles has signed a three year contract.
The lads are due to report officially on the 11th March for the fitness testing under Pete Kelly, he has done a brilliant job for us since taking on the fitness role, and I am sure we will all see the benefit of his hard work once the new season begins. Pete has also had a great time away from cricket, scoring many tries for Canterbury Rugby Club, I just hope he is able to keep them up with a few more tries before the season finishes.
Whilst on rugby and before I finish for today, don’t forget that Warren Gatland is due at the ground on the 24th March for a dinner being organised in conjunction with Canterbury RFC. Warren has a great reputation in the rugby world and somebody I am looking forward to hearing, I even said yes to doing a Q and A with him on the night, just so I could have a chat with him about coaching, and hopefully learning from him.