6 August 2010

County fitness and Middlesex v Northants

Someone like Mark Cosgrove is a big big man and on top of that is not at peak fitness. The consequence is that he doesn't make the most of his ability - yes, I say that despite the fact he averages over 50. Watching him batting this year, I've witnessed him flagging well before getting to three figures, and his top score of 123 demonstrates that he finds it difficult to go really big. But he's good enough to be a good County cricketer even in his "reduced" state.

So there's always exceptions to rules, but watching Northants walk all over Middlesex yesterday reinforces the sceptics view that County cricket is not operating at full throttle (and consequently providing less Test-class players than it should do). Northants included Mal Loye who clearly wasn't fit (despite making runs) and was consequently run out taking a tight single. David "Jumble" Sales has never been slim, but clearly needs to lose a few pounds to get to his optimum weight for professional sport (yes, he made runs too). And Andrew Hall is obviously enjoying international retirement and has put on a belly since he's focused on the comfort of County cricket. That these players can not only play, but thrive, in County cricket demonstrates the lack of ambition or competition at some Counties.

But Northants still beat Middlesex at a canter (which is all Loye, Sales and Hall could muster anyway!). So much for Mark Davis suggesting that we "Watch Middlesex go now"! They brought in Tom Scollay of Eastcote who, as Vinny Codrington notes, leads the table-topping Middlesex Premier League side. Scollay topped the Eastcote averages the last two years and is averaging 65 this year which has seen him elevated to the County side, so it's a great advert for bringing through a top-performing club player. But Middlesex didn't seem to arm the Sky commentators with the necessary information as they kept repeating that he made his debut earlier this year against Bangladesh....obviously that was the one line of information they'd been given about him!
Thanks to some very poor early batting Scollay didn't really get much of a chance to have a proper bat and it's difficult to see how he'll get a chance to show what he can do when he's batting at 7 in limited overs cricket. I guess that's the lot of the up and coming County batsman these days sadly. But he did at least appear fully fit!

1 comment:

Aussie Dave said...

Regarding Mark Cosgrove, I remember a couple of years ago he was suspended from the South Australian team for a few months and his contractwas threatened to be torn up after he returned from a county stint over weight. He'll always be a big boy, but I think he really struggles with the discipline, especially while playing overseas and no doube enjoying a few pints post match.

Also, regarding Andrew Hall, I happened to catch a little of the English County T20 on TV over here and could not beleive my eyes when I saw him, he's certainly been in a good paddock.