Well, what a good weekend that was for us at Kimberley Institute!
On Saturday, all four teams won their league games, then on Monday the first XI followed it up with another excellent win against Welbeck Colliery to make it three wins on the bounce in the NPL.
We now have a fantastic opportunity this weekend to build up that momentum by winning again on Saturday at Ratcliffe-on-Trent. Then on Sunday we face West Indian Cavaliers for a place in the group final of the ECB National Club Championship. It would be great to see as many people down as possible at Newdigate Street on Sunday to cheer us on in what will no doubt be a tough match.
It was also pleasing to see England win the first Test against New Zealand at Lord’s on Monday. The team have taken a lot of stick recently, much of it slightly harsh in my opinion, so it was great to see them play such excellent cricket in the second innings despite being up against it.
England still have a major problem, however, with their choice of spin bowling.
Moeen Ali is clearly a good all round cricketer. He can bat in the top or middle order as required, and within the current structure of this England team, is capable of holding an end up with his bowling.
If, however, England are going to be capable of winning Test series regularly abroad, in particular in the sub continent, they must look away from Ali.
When I watched him bowl last summer at Trent Bridge, I was struck by how little he offered variation in flight and pace, such an important facet of any spin bowlers armoury.
For all the variations Shane Warne had in terms of delivery, many of his wickets were down to deceiving players in the air, something Ali doesn’t do enough.
I actually think Joe Root has more potential as an international spinner as he has a better variation in flight and pace and can turn the ball more.
If you invested more time into developing Root’s bowling, it could then allow you to bring in a young spinner in place of Ali who has more of what it takes.
It was great to see England give Mark Wood a chance and no doubt people will be pleased with what they saw. Yet how many times have they given a young slow bowler the chance to establish themselves?
The last player they gave a chance to was Simon Kerrigan who struggled with nerves. But the lad continues to do well in county cricket, this week spinning them to victory with another young finger spinner Arron Lilley, and maybe it is time for them to give one of these boys a chance.
People often say there are no spinners in county cricket, and they are definitely correct in that there is a limited pool.
However, until English cricket starts to take the role of spinners seriously, and works with counties to ensure they get the right pitches and thus opportunities to bowl, we will always be left with ‘a batsman who bowls a bit’ and our chances of success limited in wider formats rather than just Test matches in English conditions.