Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Powell Benefit

Well deserved and I for one will be putting some money in the bucket when it comes round next year. A good sign that the club is remembering it loyal servants again. I believe it was only confirmed about two weeks ago that he even had a contract this season!


Friday, 19 October 2007

Loudon to retire

It has been announced today that Alex Loudon will retire from First Class cricket to concentrate on becoming a Stockbroker. Although his performances over the past season and a bit have not been as consistent as they might have been, he has still been a powerful force at No6 or No5 for the Bears.

He didn't always score a weight of runs, but often seemed to save his best for games when it was needed most. I remember a few low scoring games where he held the tail together and helped Warwickshire post a decent total.

Sadly I think he will be remembered as a player who never quite fulfilled his potential. It was not so long ago that he was on the verge of an England senior cap, mainly for his bowling, but also for his ability in the middle order. It is probably not unfair to say since that winter his game has gone backwards in both disciplines, notably his bowling. I felt he had the potential to go on and become a really good cricketer and with his skills it could have been him and not Graeme Swann who was filling the second spinner slot in Sri Lanka last week. Had he taken his initial opportunity he may even have become England's first choice spinner for a while in the absence of Giles. Unfortunately he didn't seem to posses that final quality that turns a merely good cricketer into a great one. It might be that his dual career ambitions contributed to this, that he didn't quite possess the hunger to excel at cricket when he had other options to fall back on. I may be being unfair here, because the likes of Troughton and Trott and lately Ambrose have achieved a similar level of recognition with England from the Warwickshire ranks without (yet) stepping up to international standard.

He will be sorely missed at Warwickshire where he fulfilled a vital and complex role. He had a decent cricket brain and took charge of the team on numerous occasions and his batting, as I've said was decent down the order. Warwickshire will struggle next season to find someone to fill his position, they may come to depend more on the top order for runs and the likes of Troughton might find himself bowling a few more overs. The leadership issue might be more complex, with Brown, Streak and Loudon all missing for next season (not to mention Knight and Wagh from last) the Bears may struggle for leadership and tactical help for Maddy and some of the younger members of the squad will have to step up.

I wish him all the best in his future career ambitions and I won't be surprised at all to see his name cropping up in the minor counties in the next few years.


Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Update on Players

Last updated 13/01

The situation going into next season seems to already be a bit clearer, with most of last season's playing staff either confirmed as staying or going. I've stuck it all together as a little re-cap.

Neil Carter - Decided to accept the new offer of a one year contract, after being almost certain to leave a few months ago (Mail Oct 9th)

Dougie Brown - Believed to have been offered a coaching only role with Warwickshire, but also has a coaching and playing role on the table from Essex. Is weighing up his options and has not yet decided. Only recently completed a stint in Sri Lanka commentating for TMS on the One Day series. As of 14/11 he has been confirmed as the new academy director.

Alex Loudon - Is keen to continue to train to be a stockbroker and previously has been given 8 months out of the year under contract, and undertaken training during the offseason. It is believed that Warwickshire are only offering a 12 month contract at the moment, effectively forcing him to choose whether to give up cricket or stockbroking for the time being. I did read somewhere that other counties were interested by George Dobell indicated in The Post that he would not go to another county. As of 19/10 he has confirmed he will retire from cricket.

Darren Maddy - remains under contract and has accepted the captaincy for next season

Michael Powell - has agreed a new one year deal, after being out of contract at the end of this season. (Post Oct 12th) Also confirmed as 2008 Benefit recipient.

Ant Botha - He has signed until 2009. He is not actually a Kolpak, as he discovered his dad was not his real dad, and his real dad was born in England. (IC Birmingham)

Vaughan Van Jaarsveld - Another problem registration, ultimately he will play in the squad from next season, as he is marrying his fiancée in the offseason, who apparently has an EU passport. (Forum) Has now decided he doesn't want to play for Warwickshire and will remain in South Africa (18/11)

Ian Bell - Povey has assured the members at the forum that he is on a very long term contract, which is good news following his frustration at not been picked for the C&G semi-final.

Jim Troughton - signed up for next two seasons (club website)

Tim Groenewald - signed up for next two seasons (club website)

Nick James - Has signed a new one year deal and will probably have to show some improvement to stay.

Andrew Miller - Has signed a new one year deal, but I have to confess I haven't a clue who he is?

Richard Johnson - Academy wicket-keeper, who has signed a one year deal and will be official No2 to Tim Ambrose. (Confusingly reported on 16/11 has having been offered a one year deal - so don't know if I am just way ahead of the game or what?)

Boyd Rankin - New signing, see below post.

Ian Salisbury - Newly signed (17/11) to boost the spin bowling department and to bring in some experience (age 38)

Sanath Jayasuriya - Has been signed as overseas player, but just for the Twenty20 cup.

others under contract:
James Anyon
Lee Daggett*
Luke Parker*
Navdeep Poonia*
Naqqash Tahir
Jonathan Trott
Ian Westwood
Stuart Hole*
Calum MacLeod (16/11)

* - I am just assuming this based on the article in the Post that stated that only Brown and Loudon remained unconfirmed as to contract deals and I have seen no confirmation that they have been released. However they are fringe players...

Mystery Men:

Monde Zondeki - Is now the hot favourite for the overseas slot for either the whole season (presumably minus the Twenty20 - see above), or possibly until the SA tour of England kicks off in the second half of the summer, if he is called up.

Alfonso Thomas
- signed for the tail end of last season, but no confirmation as to whether he will be back. He didn't really do enough to convince Giles/AD in my opinion. But I cannot find any confirmation of his status.

Stephen Flemming - has confirmed he will not be rejoining Notts next year, has been linked with Warwickshire

Shane Bond - random linkage, haven't heard anything remotely concrete. His involvement in the ICL makes it less likely I think.

Niall O'Brien - It was reported that we had made an approach to Northants on Aug 15th (IC Birmingham), although it is all based on Tim Ambrose getting an England call. Nothing since and Richard Johnson is confirmed as No2 to Ambrose for next season, indicating there is not any movement behind the scenes.

Shaun Pollock - Since announcing his retirement from international cricket on 11/01 the rumour mill has sprung into action. Giles has confirmed he is interested in signing him and he might be available as kolpak, as he is no longer an international.

Ones that got away:

Heath Streak - Has retired from the end of the season and his wholehearted commitment will be missed in the dressing room.

Nayan Doshi - As predicted in this blog a while back, Doshi will not represent Warwickshire. He has signed with Derbyshire for next season.

Michael Barnes - Has been released by the club

Adam Shantry - Has been released by the club, but thankfully for him has signed a two year contract with Glamorgan. I believe he could go on to be a decent player for them.

Mushtaq Ahmed - did anyone really think he was going to leave Sussex? Only the prospect of learning his trade under the tutelage of Giles would have a chance of convincing him.

I'll keep updating this list as and when anything is revealed...


Monday, 15 October 2007

Boyd Rankin Signs

The news hot off the press this morning is that Boyd Rankin has joined Warwickshire from Derbyshire.

He is probably one for the future rather than someone who is going to come in and do well from the off, but it is certainly more raw material for Donald to work with. Injury and form restricted him to just three championship apperances for Derbyshire last season, which in a county which did not have a wealth of fast bowling talent is not a promising sign. However he showed in the World Cup what he is capable of and he certianly seems to have a lot of potential. It will be another test for Donald to see whether he came mould Rankin into a top class bowler.

It will take a long time to get the grass roots of Warwickshire bowling up to scratch, by this I mean the age-group scouting and coaching, but it is certainly the right move in my opinion in the short to medium-term to recruit young promising bowlers and work with them, rather than go for much older short-term fixes.

This is the first signing of the Giles/Donald era and although not the big overseas signing many would have been hoping for, it shows the club is aiming in the right direction.

Meanwhile Nayan Doshi has sort of moved the other way, signing for Derbyshire (although in the Warwickshire squad for the championship game against Sussex he never played). It was largely expected that he wouldn't represent Warwickshire in 2008 after they signed Botha from Derbyshire.


Tuesday, 9 October 2007


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Saturday, 6 October 2007

The English Summer's Done

There is some argument about whether the English summer ever arrived this year, given the amount of unusually rainy days. I can tell you categorically though that if it ever was here, it has now departed south for the winter.

Maybe its being a slightly fanatical supporter of cricket in general, but I always feel that the curtain on the summer is the first day I travel down the Edgbaston Road past the gates of Cannon Hill park and see the fixtures board of Edgbaston standing empty and unadorned. A final and unarguable reminder that there will be no more cricket and precious few pleasant days between now and April.

It is a fluke of nature, or possibly a trick of the mind that whenever this day arrives, it is invariably drizzling and a cold wind plucks brown leaves and waste paper, blowing them across the pavement and piling it up against the chain link fencing around the Colts ground. Everything seems grey and joyless.

For the interminable months of autumn and winter the pavilion, Eric Hollies and scoreboard will face the skeletal trees on the other side of the Edgbaston road, both patiently awaiting the first green shoots of spring and the promise of another season's cricket.

(Apologies to John Major for the title)