County game must learn to do without big stars for coming weeks

Usually at this time of year when the weather is good, the wickets tend to flatten out and batsmen enjoy themselves. I am wondering whether the new regulations which prevent the use of a heavy roller during the course of a match have had a bearing on that and allowed pitches to deteriorate more, bringing bowlers much more into the game.

Neil Fairbrother

Once again we have a new cricket season upon us and already we have seen plenty of positive results. Usually at this time of year when the weather is good, the wickets tend to flatten out and batsmen enjoy themselves. I am wondering whether the new regulations which prevent the use of a heavy roller during the course of a match have had a bearing on that and allowed pitches to deteriorate more, bringing bowlers much more into the game.

It has been pleasing to see both Lancashire and Yorkshire start the season impressively, but the key to both club’s fortunes is likely to be how they adapt in the next few weeks and months. Both clubs will be without their spearheads now – Lancashire will be losing Jimmy Anderson and Yorkshire will be without Tim Bresnan and Ajmal Shahzad for the ICC World Twenty20 tournament in West Indies – and it will be interesting to see how they fare without them. I imagine both counties will be hoping for big things from their West Indies imports with Daren Powell playing for Lancashire and Tino Best appearing for Yorkshire.

The county game will continue of course, but most of the world’s best cricketers will be in the Caribbean for the World Twenty20 event. It should be a very exciting event and I think England have an outside chance of doing well, but I also like the look of Sri Lanka. They came very close to winning the last event in England last year and I think with the players they have, most of whom have been playing in the Indian Premier League, they have an outstanding chance of winning the tournament.

The IPL has also finished with Fred’s team Chennai upsetting the odds in the final against the favourites from Mumbai. It was an enthralling final and I know Fred enjoyed watching it from Dubai, where he is continuing his rehabilitation from knee surgery. Hopefully he will be fit enough to make a major contribution to next year’s IPL.

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