Colchester Lad

The chaos which resulted from Yorkshire's apparent failure to ensure that a seventeen year-old off-spinner (of whom I'd never previously heard) was eligible to play for them has been well-covered elsewhere, notably at Sledgers and Sandbaggers. It's enough to say that I agree with the central points made there and by Nasser Hussain on Sky last night, namely that the eligibility rules have become far too complicated and apparently contradictory, and that things should have been sorted out either well before or after the game was due to be played. For God's sake don't wait until you've got a ground full of people before you call off the game they've turned up to see.

No, what interested me most last night was again the performance of Graham Napier. Forty more rapid runs, punctuated by the now customary sight of balls flying out of the ground, and four wickets up front which together combined to send Essex to Twenty20 finals day at the Rose Bowl, where they'll take some beating.

In particular, the way in which he did for Andrew Hall and David Sales stood out: Hall caught behind off an outswinger, Sales' stumps shattered by a late in-ducker. Quality bowling from a player who's currently looking like a very serious and classy operator indeed.

It's as well not to get carried away - three weeks ago he was just another county journeyman - but the quality of some of Napier's recent displays has been such that I think England should take a serious look at him for both fifty and twenty over cricket.

I don't know whether they will or not; as we all know, the English way is generally to ignore short-term form in favour of established mediocrity, and to select Napier on the basis of his performances over the last few weeks would, to many, appear rash.

One thing seems increasingly likely though, and that is that Napier will be receiving a few overtures from the IPL. Indeed, if some of the people involved are as proactive as they'd like us to believe he probably has already.

That would be great. One of the underestimated values of the IPL has been the opportunities it has given to young Indian players to mix with world stars and show what they can do on a more significant stage.

For Gony and Asnodkar read a Colchester lad called Graham Richard Napier.


Rob said...

He gave an interesting interview to Sky a few days ago. He had been in New Zealand over the winter and had concentrated on 20:20 style cricket - he doesn't even get in the county championship side. He also climbed Everest this winter, which must make 20:20 seem a bit tame :) Its also interesting that he is not that young - 28 - and he has had time to develop his skills and them apply them.

Brian Carpenter said...

I saw that too, Rob. I think he made the point that climbing Everest had put the game into perspective and he seems to have found a level of confidence which he's never had before and is just riding with it.

He also made the point that concentrating on one-day cricket had helped him improve by giving him time to work on his fitness and technique while his teammates are playing CC games. I think we'll see more players doing that in the future and more counties wanting their players to do that.


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