Cricket World rounds up all the latest news from the county circuit in our regular County Cricket Round-Up feature.
New Zealand batsman Martin Guptill has agreed a deal that will see him start 2012 as Derbyshire’s overseas player.
The 25 year-old has given up on any chance that he may have had of securing a contract in the lucrative Indian Premier League, and will instead be based at the County Ground until June 12th when he has international commitments.
The right-handed opener became a firm favourite among the members during his stint at Derby last year and topped their batting averages in the Clydesdale Bank 40 as well as being their leading run-scorer in the Friends Life t20. He also averaged 38.35 from eight Championship matches and impressed many by carrying out 12th man duties when he was out injured.
Derbyshire coach Karl Krikken said of the news, “He was tremendous for us last season and, the form he's in at present, he's as good a player as anybody in the world."
Essex cricket committee chairman Graham Saville has said that the signing of left-arm swing bowler Charl Willoughby is, “just what we require,” and outlined the role that he will play at the club, saying, “He will be able to help develop the two young left-arm bowlers [Reece Topley and Tymal Mills] that we’ve got on the staff.”
Saville went on to defend the club against accusations that Willoughby may be blocking the path of the younger bowlers, adding, “People should realise that we are likely to be losing Reece for quite a lot of the season [to England Under-19s]. We’ve been very dependent on David Masters in recent seasons and with Chris Wright moving to Warwickshire, we didn’t really have any back-up bowlers.”
Following the high profile coaching revamp at Yorkshire, Surrey have engaged in a little light refurbishment in the coaching department, with former batsman Ali Brown taking up the position of Second XI coach for the next two years. He will lead the county’s development program and work closely with Pemberton Greenish Academy Director Gareth Townsend.
The first-team coaching structure has also seen a slight rejig, with Chris Adams promoted to the position of Team Director. Ian Salisbury and Martin Bicknell have signed new two-year deals and will be first-team coach and bowling coach respectively, while former wicket-keeper Alec Stewart will continue in his role as consultant to the squad.
Adams, who is now committed to the club until the end of the 2014 season, said of the announcement, “New contracts for Ian Salisbury and Martin Bicknell are due reward for the excellent contributions they have made to the recent success of the club and I am very happy that Alec Stewart will continue his work with the players on top of his new commitments on the board. With myself and these three individuals we have a very strong coaching unit at Surrey into which I am delighted to welcome Ali Brown. He has a glittering career behind him and a huge amount of experience and expertise he can pass onto both our squad and the players coming through our system who will soon be pushing for a first team spot themselves.”
Kent wicket-keeper Geraint Jones has spoken of his concern for his place at the club. The 35 year-old, whose contract expires at the end of 2012, said, “I know my wage will be a considering factor when it comes to a new contract but hopefully we can sort something out and I finish my playing career in three or four years at Kent."
Kent’s where I have played all my professional cricket and I don’t want to leave the club, but I also understand I am one of the higher wage earners and finance is an issue so that’s a bit of a concern coming into the last year of my contract and in my benefit year as well.”
Meanwhile, outgoing Kent coach Paul Farbrace, who recently signed as Yorkshire’s second XI coach, has given his backing to under-fire captain Rob Key, saying, “He is someone who is massively passionate about Kent cricket. He has taken some stick over the last couple of years and it's massively unfair. He is 100% committed to the cause of Kent cricket [and has] put so much into his job as captain that a lot of people don't see.”
Yorkshire’s Martyn Moxon, whose job title has changed from Director of Professional Cricket to Director of Cricket, has explained how the new coaching structure at the club will work. He said, “My job will be to manage the whole cricket operation. That means I will manage the three coaches – Jason, Paul and Ian directly. It gives me the flexibility to go wherever I need to go, whether that’s with the first XI or one of the other sides. Instead of having general batting and bowling coaches, as we did in the past, Colin Graves (the Yorkshire chairman) was keen for people to have more specific responsibilities and to eradicate grey areas in terms of which coach was responsible for what.”
Of selection matters, he added, “Predominantly, Andrew and Jason will pick the team and I will have an input if required, but Jason will be responsible for the day-to-day running of the first team just as Paul will be responsible for the day-to-day running of the second XI. It’s my job to pull everything together and I’ll be floating around if you like, helping wherever I need to and making sure that everyone is working towards the same ends.”
He also went on to say that the club was looking to sign one more pace bowler for 2012 and confirmed that Moin Ashraf had finally signed his two-year contract extension.
© Cricket World 2011