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Our openers

July 3 2017 at 9:54 PM
Martin  (Login Martinh00)

 
Much has been said about our openers - some of which I agree with and some of which appears to be knee jerk.

Some facts:

- both of them scored 1000 runs last season. The traditional benchmark for job done.
- both have decent career averages - just shy of 38 for Lees and just shy of 40 for Lyth

The biggest problem is that they have not performed TOGETHER, for quite some time. They do not deliver opening partnerships of substance. Of course this season this isnt surprising because neither of them can buy a run, but as people have pointed out, this is not a new problem - even ifindividually they score runs and are successful.

I am not sure what we can do about this - this isn't an issue of form - for the reasons mentioned above. It may be mental, but very difficult to coach that I would have thought. This leads me to the conclusion that maybe they just arent sufficiently suited to opening together - they dont gel any more for whatever reason. Conclusion - one of them should move down the order (probably Lees)

There seems to be a view that we need to "bring in" another opener, and that this should have happened close season. Had we done that - and explicitly told either Lees or Lyth that they were being dropped down the order (even though they had had solid seasons) I suspect we might have lost one or other of them to a fairly large queue of clubs that would welcome them with open arms. Unless we go for an overseas player (either as an international or kolpak signing), the reality is that very few openers can compete - when on form - with Lees and Lyth.

Mark Stoneman - the player we should apparently have signed, is almost exactly six years older than Alex Lees. Six years ago, Stoneman averaged 21 after 144 first class innings. Lees averages just under 38 after 133 innings.

Changes are most certainly needed, but let's not throw out the baby with the bathwater.


 
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LUTyke
(Login Y4EV)

Our Openers

July 3 2017, 10:44 PM 

It's pretty obvious that the current issue with both is confidence, in fact it's likely the whole camp is suffering from this issue right now. I don't think we should write off either (nor are we really in any position to), but I think both desperately need a spell in the 2nds. I have little doubt Lees (and Leaning, Brook and Kohler-Cadmore), will be good batsmen for us in the future. Lyth has always had great highs and great lows, he is probably an average or slightly above average batsman, and it is ok to have a few of those in the team as long as they are backing up a couple of top batsmen such as Ballance, Bairstow or Williamson. We don't have those right now, and what we're left with are a group of ok/decent batsmen who are all simultaneously suffering a loss of confidence, leading to the current crisis situation. We need to hope they can rediscover their best form, I'm sure if they do, we will compete once more.

 
 
Martin
(Login Martinh00)

Re: Our openers

July 3 2017, 10:52 PM 

Problem is that batsmen like Lyth, average or not, are the best we can realistically hope for. There is a very small handful of batsmen in county cricket that have managed to pursue an "England-free" career and have been better performers than someone like Lyth. Better players (Bairstow and Ballance) get picked for England. Williamson - in the cold light of day, has not been as good for us as he has been for NZ. That leads you to the Kolpak route I suppose - a few gems out there (Sangakarra in particular), but quite a lot of players who are no more than average county pros.

 
 
Twelfth Man
(Login twelthman)

Re: Our openers

July 3 2017, 11:00 PM 

Just a small point, but I was always under the impression that Sangakkara was playing as a genuine overseas player for Surrey.

 
 

Alex
(Premier Login AlexRoberts)
Owner

Numbers

July 3 2017, 11:19 PM 

Our openers have averaged just over 21 runs for the first wicket this season, with one 50+ partnership. In short we have been in the recovery and stabilize mode in virtually every innings this year. This has to change.

 
 
Martin
(Login Martinh00)

Re: Our openers

July 3 2017, 11:22 PM 

Sorry twelfth man - correct. I was thinking of Jayawardene and his Swedish (?) wife. Hes is certainly a quality kolpak!

 
 
Dwight_Schrute
(Login Dwight_Schrute)

Re: Our openers

July 3 2017, 11:24 PM 

Worth noting that 50 partnership was also in a pressure free period against part time Lancashire bowlers.

 
 
Dwight_Schrute
(Login Dwight_Schrute)

Re: Our openers

July 3 2017, 11:36 PM 

I'm not fussed we didn't sign Stoneman but how his average 6 years ago even relevant?

We should look to sign players based on what we expect from them now/in the future.

Or is the point he improved markedly so Lees must too, doesn't work like that.

 
 
Martin
(Login Martinh00)

Re: Our openers

July 3 2017, 11:48 PM 

Seems to me that the rest of the season could take care of itself. No Lees after this game until the next four day game on 6th August - he has a month to get himself back into nick I would suggest. Only he and the club will know the best approach for him. May be second team cricket, but equally might benefit from a bit of a break. Lyth will play in the T20 stuff, and every chance that he will do well. Whether this can carry over into the champo in August is a moot point.

I can see one of them not playing in the championship side in August if there is no improvement, but I doubt that both would be left out.

Longer term, I think one may drop down the order - ideally to co-incide with an improvement in form. As people have remarked, the issue of the Lyth/Lees being an effective pair is really not about form.

 
 
Martin
(Login Martinh00)

Re: Our openers

July 3 2017, 11:56 PM 

I'm not fussed we didn't sign Stoneman but how his average 6 years ago even relevant?

The point is that Durham stuck with Stoneman when he was at the same career stage as Lees because they thought he was talented, would come good, and he did. Would have been understandable to have let him go at that point in his career. Seems to me that there is arguably more evidence that Lees has every chance of coming good based on his early career, so we should stick with him (even if this is as a number 3/4)

It may not be automatic, but I would suggest that most batsmen mature and become consistent in the second half of their 20s.

 
 
Dwight_Schrute
(Login Dwight_Schrute)

Re: Our openers

July 4 2017, 12:12 AM 

Yes and i'm sure there's many examples of players not kicking on and improving to that level.

Lees if anything appears to be going backwards. I certainly don't believe he is free from being dropped just because he scored 1000 runs last season. The same reason was used repeatedly for Gale when he was failing last year.


 
 

Guest
(Login dpressed)

Re: Our openers

July 4 2017, 12:38 AM 

Sadly today both openers got out deliveries that they shouldn't have been anywhere near.

 
 
Guest
(Login ThirdUmpire)

Re: Our openers

July 4 2017, 7:26 AM 

You would expect a coaching duo of Moxon and Gale to be able to help here with both being top order batsmen. If they can't then it's more an issue of our coaching structure which is in question.

Half the challenge is mental strength as much as ability. Problem is if you are in a bad trot you are mentally weak too. A spell out firing line for one of them may work but not sure we can ditch both

 
 
Dewsburian
(Login Dewsburian)

Re: Our openers

July 4 2017, 11:36 AM 

I see Joe Denly has just gone past 150 at Beckenham. He had a double century the other week against Worcestershire and a century earlier in the season v Sussex. Five or six years ago, he was being touted as the next big thing. A couple of years ago, he was widely regarded as an abject failure who couldn't buy a run.

 
 
Guest
(Login ThirdUmpire)

Re: Our openers

July 4 2017, 11:59 AM 

Ah but he's in div 2....

 
 
Lew
(Login Lewis_116)

Re: Our openers

July 4 2017, 4:50 PM 

I feel a bit sorry for Lees. He burst on the scene and looked like a world beater. He hasn't progressed and seems to have slightly regressed. Not helped by the decision to make him captain of the ODI team and then remove it.

I have suggested before that he may bemefit to a move to 3 in the order. I would personally stick with him and let him find his form. I feel he is that good.

Brook I believe was an opener so maybe he deserves a good run there.

Seems like our batting is in a state. Maybe we have to accept we are in some kind of batting transition.

It does (unfairly to odd) add the need for a batting keeper at 6 to add depth. Not easy to find, maybe someone like Luke Ronchi at 6 could be an option (I heard he retired from Internationals).

That said, we tend to do better with young overseas players, not sure who is out there.

I do not hate the idea of a Kolpak as long as its one player. Villas at Lancs would have been ideal.


 
 
LUTyke
(Login Y4EV)

Our Openers

July 4 2017, 4:54 PM 

Possibility for next season?
Lyth
Lees(Brook)
Kohler-Cadmore
Ballance(Leaning)
Overseas
Kolpak(wk)
Bresnan
Rashid(Rafiq/Carver)

 
 
Martin
(Login Martinh00)

Re: Our openers

July 4 2017, 6:06 PM 

I still think it is a pity that Hodd doesn't get a run higher in the order. A bit chicken and egg I suppose, but hes looked good every time I have seen him this season, but hard for someone batting at 8 to rack up the runs. I also should say that his keeping yesterday was superb - a very difficult track to keep wicket on - lots of bounce. Some of his takes were fantastic to watch. He is not going to be around forever, so at some point in the next two or three years an alternative will need to be found.

Arguably Leaning is the one we should be worried about, since his poor form started in 2015 arguably. Lees was OK in the end last year - his is in some ways a normal "off season" - maybe not helped by losing the captaincy. My comparison with Stoneman which someone didn't appreciate, simply made the point that 24 year olds are worth sticking with, if we think they have the talent to succeed.

 
 
Geoff B
(Login Coastalview)

Re: Our openers

July 4 2017, 7:00 PM 

Some very difficult questions being thrown up by the continued lack of success of our openers, and others.

Fine to hope that Lees may follow Stoneman and become a possible England opener when he matures in 4 or 5 years, but he has to put in some decent performances in the seasons till then to earn the privilege.

Lyth was a natural, but his time with England has got him over thinking his batting.

Coaching and management of course has a role to play and I am not in a position to comment on that.

England taking our best batsmen not only deprives us of their runs, but denudes the team of natural leaders and role models. Of course I wouldn't have it any other way but losing our captain has made a bad situation worse.

Our current Aussie certainly doesn't look to be a natural leader, we really could do with one.





 
 
Stu
(Login StuartRA)
Assistant Moderator

Re: Our openers

July 4 2017, 7:06 PM 

We can play Marsh instead of Hanscomb in the CC, which may not be a bad move as Marsh is older & wiser and has a lot more experience.

Marsh could be the natural leader and role model, that we now lack without Ballance.


    
This message has been edited by StuartRA on Jul 4, 2017 7:29 PM


 
 
 
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