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Cricket

The Curse of the Kolpak

Sussex, fielding four overseas Test players defeated Yorkshire (three overseas Test stars) in an epic Twenty/20 encounter at a packed floodlit Hove ground in front of the Sky cameras last night.

The shortest format of the pro game has been a rip roaring success since it’s introduction in 2003, and anything that sparks interest in the game, especially amongst kids has to be applauded.

However, I would like to see this particular competition open to sides that compromise solely of players qualified to play for England, as a means of giving opportunity to local talent.

Ideally the Championship should comprise of English players with the addition of one overseas player, as without doubt good foreign Test stars such as Mushtaq at Sussex, and Hampshire skipper Shane Warne help drive up standards and provide role models for younger players.

Mercenaries such as Ganguly, Jimmy Maher and the like contribute nothing and Clubs should be prevented from signings that last less than two months.

The Kolpak ruling which allows EU citizens to play whilst not counting as overseas has been roundly abused by most Counties, Glamorgan being the honourable exception but a look at their season’s results tells it’s own story and I am ashamed that Yorkshire have gone down this road with the Rudolph signing. Yet there we sit at the summit of the Championship table at the half way stage.

It’s a results business and until the ECB can persuade the Clubs to accept a voluntary moratorium on Kolpaks, or those not qualified to play Tests for England, then the Counties will continue to block places for the development of England players, and the knock on effect will be felt in the near future.

Lets hope for some improvement in the International Summer after the one sided nature of the W. Indies series.

England steamrollered a piss poor Windies outfit and Chandrapaul apart, these undoubtedly talented outfit should hang their heads in shame. Nevertheless England should be commended for a professional and Aussie like relentless attitude to winning.

Chris Gayle epitomised what ailed the Tourists. A few entertaining cameos with the bat but mainly standing at slip looking bored, disinterested and unmotivated and looking as if he would rather be anywhere else.

Mind you it’s not surprising given the foul, cold weather which the players had to endure. Leeds now holds the record (7 Celsius) for the coldest ever Test conditions.

The recall of Sidebottom was a masterstroke by the selectors, and as he gains experience he will adapt his game to suit the environment maybe experimenting with cutters and variations of pace on the Sub Continent as Hoggard did to confound his critics who voiced the opinion that he becomes cannon fodder if the ball doesn’t swing.

Jones, Hoggard, Harmison and Flintoff, the quartet that bowled England to the Ashes in 2005 are all unavailable for the First Test against India which starts today and my point regarding the state of the County scene becomes pertinent as the we have a very thin seam of quick bowlers. The attack comprises of Tremlett (debut), Sidebottom (5 Tests) and Anderson who really hasn’t cut it at this level despite plenty of opportunity. Panesar is now the senior bowler. Worrying.

 

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About dermotrathbone

Writer and co author "Through Red Lenses". Activist Unite the Union, Save Our NHS Hull. Fan of Yorkshire County Cricket Club, Hull FC, Munster and Ireland Rugby. Views are mine alone and may not reflect the organisations concerned.

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