Derbyshire have chosen Barbados as the destination for their pre-season tour for the third successive year. They will play a 40-over match against Hampshire; a two-day match against a Barbados XI; and contest the Twenty20 Barbados Cup – a tournament that includes several other county sides.
The trip is scheduled to last for around a fortnight and the club is offering discounted packages to their fans to follow them on tour on the club’s website.
Essex assistant groundsman Scott Hawkins is spending five months working in Australia this winter helping to prepare the pitch at Foots Cray Edgewater CC in Melbourne. He said, “They’ve apparently had a few problems with their pitches and they were looking for someone to go out there and give their groundsman a bit of guidance and help.”
The 21 year-old was put in touch with the club by a friend in Melbourne after previously spending time working at the Gabba when he was just 16.
Hawkins has been working at Chelmsford for seven years now and, despite beginning a foundation degree before quitting, admits that he has learnt most of what he knows by watching Essex’s head groundsman Stuart Kerrison.
Hampshire all-rounder Benny Howell has admitted that he is looking to move away from the county in search of more playing opportunities in 2012. He said, “I’m looking for a new county and I’ve already told my coaches at Hampshire that I want to leave to play more four-day cricket.”
The 23 year-old hit his maiden Hampshire century in the Clydesdale Bank 40 in May 2011, and followed that up with an innings of 71 against Lancashire on his first-class debut.
He added that he had become increasingly frustrated at the lack of first-team opportunities and outlined his ambitions for the future by saying, “I’ve only been playing two forms of the game for Hampshire, apart from the one four-day game I played last summer when I did quite well. I want to get picked for the England Performance Programme squads so I can be in the selectors’ thinking when it comes to international cricket in the future.”
Howell, who was born in France, is currently playing club cricket in Melbourne near to where his parents live.
Gloucestershire have been dealt a blow in their efforts to finalise a playing budget for 2012 after Bristol City Council postponed a decision on the granting of planning permission for ground redevelopment at the County Ground. A decision was supposed to have been made last night but has been put back to December.
A frustrated Gloucestershire chief executive, Tom Richardson, said, "We have a number of players who have expressed an interest in playing for us next year, but we are not yet in a position to close a deal with any of them. Our cricket budget [for 2012] is dependent upon the ground redevelopment scheme getting the go-ahead and we are hopeful this latest delay will not be too long.”
The futures of senior batsmen Hamish Marshall and Chris Taylor, as well as the recruiting of a seam bowler to replace the experienced Jon Lewis, have been put on hold until a decision is reached by the council.
Former Glamorgan batsman Mike Powell, who recently signed for Kent, has hit out at the club’s administrators and admitted that the players were gagged when it came to airing their views on certain issues during his time at the Welsh county. He did, however, have warm words for the Glamorgan supporters, saying, “What makes Glamorgan is the supporters and I believe they are the best supporters in the country. They are the people I hold dear to me.”
He also revealed that he was looking forward to playing with Kent wicket-keeper Geraint Jones next season. The two played together for Abergavenny CC when Jones first came to the UK from Australia.
Essex all-rounder Graham Napier has been awarded a benefit year by the club for the 2012 season. He has chosen Anthony Bright to help him organise the events - the same man who did the same role for Ronnie Irani in 2003.
Essex chief executive David East paid tribute to Napier, saying, "Graham epitomises what the awarding of a benefit year is all about. He has been a fantastic servant for the club and has achieved a huge amount in the years he has been with us. I’m sure I can say on behalf of all the members and staff of Essex Cricket that it has been great watching Graham over the years develop into an outstanding cricketer for the county. We wish him the very best for his important year ahead."
For more information on Napiers benefit please visit, www.grahamnapier.com.
© Cricket World 2011