With the first round of LV= County Championship matches having finished, it is time to pick the first Cricket World County Player of the Week of 2012. There are plenty of contenders for the season’s maiden award, as, in spite of the early start to the season, most matches were hardly affected by the weather and produced a positive result.
As one would expect so early in an English April, it was the bowlers who largely held sway – although not just the quicker ones as you might imagine – with slow left-armers David Wainwright and George Dockrell guiding Derbyshire and Somerset to victories in their opening fixtures courtesy of six-wicket hauls. The seamers also prospered with as many as eight of them recording five-wicket hauls in Championship matches alone – a figure which rises to 11 when matches involving the universities are included.
However, it is Leicestershire fast-man Robbie Joseph who stands out from all of them to earn 2012’s inaugural award by virtue of his twin six-wicket hauls which combined to give him match figures of 12 for 111. On a pitch which can best be described as sporting, his six for 47 and six for 61 helped bowl Glamorgan out for less than 200 in both innings and handed Leicestershire a 52-run win.
Joseph, who is the cousin of former West Indian Test batsman Sylvester, was born on the island of Antigua in 1982, but moved to the UK when he was in his teens and was cleared to play first-class cricket as a non-overseas player for Kent at the beginning of 2004, having already represented their second eleven. He had actually made his first-class debut almost four years earlier for a First-Class Counties Select XI against New Zealand A, but had to wait and serve a residential qualification period before he was allowed to play as a local player.
He struggled initially on the county circuit and was in and out of the Kent side, before his breakthrough year in 2008 – he took 55 wickets at an average of 26.05 in all first-class cricket – resulted in him earning a call-up to the England Lions side for their tour of New Zealand. He returned to Kent for the 2009 season fully aware that he was on England’s radar, but, unfortunately he could manage only 34 first-class wickets over the next three seasons as injuries and loss of form took their toll, and he was released by the county at the end of 2011.
Leicestershire snapped him up fairly quickly as they sought fast bowling support for Nathan Buck and Matthew Hoggard, and he could not have started his career at Grace Road any better. The challenge now for Joseph, and Leicestershire, is to add to the solitary win that the club achieved in 2011 and push for promotion in 2012.
Of the batsman this week, nine of them achieved centuries, with Martin Guptill’s 137 against Northamptonshire the highest, while Kent all-rounder Matt Coles and Derbyshire batsman Dan Redfern posted maiden tons.
© Cricket World 2012