Tuesday, 7 April 2009

County Cricket 2009

On Thursday the county season 2009 commences with the traditional curtain raiser between county champions (Durham) VS MCC side at Lords. The summer as a whole shall be an interesting and anticipated one as England are hosting the T20WC and of course it’s an Ashes summer and with England having flashbacks of 2005 home glory and considering the decline of the Australian empire they shall certainly fancy their chances of regaining the historical urn. Arguably the biggest cricket feast summer there has ever been!

Firstly let’s remind ourselves of the current holders of the 4 main county trophies.

County Championship= Durham
T20= Middlesex
Friends Provident=Essex
Pro 40= Sussex

The success for Durham’s glory last year was a fiery and fit Steven Harmison . Generally they had a lot of firepower in there seam bowling attack and consistently managed to capture 20 wickets and bowl out oppositions rather cheaply. Fitness is the key if they want to repeat the success.

Other than that Sussex seemed to have dominated the headlines in county cricket in the last years or so. However we shall find out what an impact the absence of Mushtaq Ahmed and Chris Adams will play in their performances. Those 2 names were certainly influential and instrumental candidates in the trophies the Sharks captured.

Also Yorkshire is a team on the rise and competitive force with many exciting experienced and young players in their ranks. Adil Rashid and Azeem Rafiq are the spin twins to watch out for. Also they shall benefit from Michael Vaughn’s presence as well as Matthew Hoggard . Mushtaq Ahmed may have left the county scene but still we have another mysterious leg spinner capturing scalps and operating away in Imran Tahir. He was awesome towards the end of last year for Hampshire, capturing bags of wickets. I wonder if they will be boosted by this overseas signing. He will be the ultimate overseas prospect to look out for this year. Finally I must admit that just a single overseas player is a loss for the English game and not a gain. They create excitement to watch and generally players benefit from their experience and expertise in the background. It produces challenges to relish upon for players when they get to play an international player . Also raised the standard of play which is probably why county cricket was considered the next big thing after international affairs and to accuse them of blocking player pathways is utter nonsense.

Here are my predictions on what shall be an interesting and lively summer of play:

County Championship – Yorkshire

T20- too tough to call but it may well lose its significance and meaning this year and be overshadowed by T20WC and IPL.

FP- Again it’s unpredictable as this one day tournament has been since the decline of the GLOS kings which is a positive aspect suggesting it's a very neck of neck scenario.

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