It’s good to see that Warwickshire are wasting no time in trying to resolve their county championship batting problems with the signings of Younis Khan and William Porterfield.
It didn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that things had to improve with the bat as Warwickshire managed just a measly 20 batting points last season, which was the lowest amount in Division 1 and 9 points less than Essex who finished rock bottom.
Funnily enough, Warwickshire got the highest amount of bowling points, 47. That’s 4 more than Notts, who won the title.
Add to that the fact that Neil Carter (36.29), Rikki Clarke (29.26) and Chris Woakes (23.94) all have higher averages than most of the batsmen and it’s fair to say that the bowlers carried the side in the county championship for most of last season.
With the exception of Ian Bell (38.1) and Jonathan Trott (37.72), the chief culprits were captain Ian Westwood who averaged 25.92 from 16 matches, Varun Chopra – 24.05 from 9 matches, Jim Troughton – 20.17 from 16 matches and Darren Maddy – 19.19 from 14 matches.
Wicketkeepers didn’t fair much better either, with Richard Johnson averaging 16.85 from 5 matches and former England keeper, Tim Ambrose just 13.35 from 11 matches.
Porterfield will probably miss a proportion of the season with his Ireland commitments, but he is only 26 and maybe this move will help his career to prosper and see him develop into a top class opener.
He has already expressed an interest in dropping the Ireland captaincy and switching to England to play test cricket should the opportunity arrive, which shows he has plenty of ambition.
Younis is a proven top class performer. His ban from the Pakistan team has been lifted, but so far they have shown a reluctance to pick him. Even if they do come calling, he might now be at the stage of his career where he has had enough of all the hassle associated with playing for Pakistan.
I would also like to pay tribute to Neil Carter. I’m no fan of Kolpak players as I think they block young emerging English talent. However there is the odd exception to the rule, like when a player sets a decent example to youngsters and I believe that Carter is one of them.
Carter’s perfromances were clearly recognised by his peers who voted him PCA Player of the Year. It has to be said that Carter has improved the quality of the team and his attitude and keenness for the game is admirable, all the more so, considering Warwickshire told him he was surplus to requirements and free to go just a couple of years back.
If youngsters can’t learn something from the example Carter sets, then they are probably never going too.