Willis: Hick and Ramprakash ‘clogging up county cricket’

Bob Willis is never short of opinions. Not all of them are conventional or even particularly thought through, but writing in the latest issue of The Wisden Cricketer he has slammed just about everyone. Ageing players such as Graeme Hick, Mark Ramprakash and Dominic Cork are wasting the money the ECB “create” through their revenue streams, thus impacting on the next generation of England stars.

I don’t have much of an issue with these three, or indeed for any ageing former England player – so long as they perform and contribute to the team. Ramprakash continues to be as prolific a batsman as any – Hick less so, but nevertheless is a reassuring face in a brittle Worcestershire line-up. If their frail frames falter, then goodnight – but so long as they’re producing the goods, their experience is invaluable to younger players.

The Kolpak issue is altogether different, and I suppose I’m contradicting myself if I can allow old English players to play rather than old non-England-qualified Greek/Australian players. But there must be some form of regulation (which, admittedly, comes into force next year) for the selection of third-grade Kolpakians. It’s out of control and impeding the progress of young English talent.

Willis is really off on one, which is always enjoyable to read rather than listen to. Cricinfo has a synopsis and we’ll have the piece up either this weekend or next. Offer your thoughts below.

Three lions of South Africa

First there was Kevin Pietersen. Then a growing army of South Africans, fed up with their lot (and what a lot…), joined him over here as part of a growing band of Kolpakians. Allan Donald was soon poached – and now Jonty Rhodes is next. What ever is going on in South African cricket?

I think it’s great having Donald and Rhodes over here. I don’t believe a foreign coach is necessarily a bad thing, but you do have to wonder how and why South Africa are unable to employ such high-profile former players.

“As with the rest of the support team we want the right person to do that job,” said England coach Peter Moores. “When we’ve got the right bloke we can look to bring him in and see how he goes. We have seen that in other specialist positions for coaches.

“We are talking about people who could make a genuine difference to international performances – and they don’t always grow on trees. If we get a fielding coach we want him to influence fielding in England not just at England level.”

From Cricinfo.