Wednesday, 17 October 2007

No excuses left for Clarke

After years treading water at Surrey, Rikki Clarke has left for Derbyshire. Perhaps surprisingly, he has immediately become their captain. Though only 26, he has already acquired plenty of county experience. What he has conspicuously failed to do, however, is convince that he has the desire, consistency and relish for responsibility to lead a first-class outfit.

But there is only one way to find out. Having been involved at Surrey since the age of nine, leaving could not have been easy, and he deserves credit for moving out of the comfort zone that appeared to have afflicted him there. He has moved to a much less fashionable county; their fortunes will in large part be dependant on how he performs.

Clarke’s talent is undeniable, but first-class averages of 23 and 42 (the wrong way round) constituted a dire final season at The Oval. With the bat, he has the potential to – and should – bat at four in county cricket, enabling him to build innings and not, as often the case at Surrey, find himself with the tail early on. His bowling reaches good speeds in the mid-80s but his inconsistency is such that he has never taken more than 22 first-class wickets in a season – and Surrey have often not trusted him to bowl his full quota of overs in one-day games.

This appears a good move for all three parties. Surrey have ridden themselves of a sometime bad influence in the dressing room (if thr rumours are to believed), and freed funds to be used for other players, led by star signing Mohammad Asif; Derbyshire have secured a player rich in talent who currently averages 38 with the bat in first-class cricket. Clarke has thrown himself into a situation where responsibility is unavoidable. He will hope the change of scenery will catapult him back into the England set-up in time for next winter’s overseas tours.

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3 comments:

Richard Lake said...

It seems odd to think as someone as young as Rikki Clarke being in the last chance saloon and the move surprises me as Derbyshire isn't going to put him in the public eye.

I can't see this as being a long term career move and I'd have thought that somewhere like Lancashire or Hampshire may have been better for his England ambitions.

Chris_Derby said...

That is a brutal piece in my opinion. I might be wrong with this but you seem a little bitter about the whole saga.

As for the above comment, why would it not put him in the public eye? He has joined DCCC not Suffolk.

Derbyshire are still on teletext and in the media and guess what, we are even on SKY sometimes too you know. Despite what people think we are a first class county.

I admire Rikki Clarke for sticking the proverbial two fingers up to the "big" clubs and joining us instead.

Tim said...

Chris - I would not say I'm bitter, just frustrated, but I certainly wish him all the best.

I don't think he has so much stuck the proverbial two fingers up at the big clubs as realised he must take more responsibility. Had he joined Lancashire, for example, would he really have got a decent bowl?