April 16, 2013

County Championship, Division Two

A familiar foreboding

Peter Miller
Glamorgan need players like Murray Goodwin to shore up the top order  © Getty Images
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If the IPL is a glitzy nightclub, the County Championship is Sunday lunch in the pub, albeit in a freezing beer garden huddled under a gas heater that isn't working. Despite the temperatures that Cardiff in April provides it is exciting to have county cricket back. With woolly hat, scarf and overcoat on sitting outside for seven hours is almost bearable.

The relentless positivity that is so common from all professional sports teams poured forth from Glamorgan. They are as well prepared as they have ever been and raring to go. Despite this preparation it didn't stop Glamorgan collapsing like Lindsay Lohan getting out a late night taxi on the first day of the championship campaign. A young Glamorgan batsman playing a daft shot to get himself out when well set is fast becoming a bigger sporting cliché than football being a game of two halves.

Last year the failure of the top order to perform consistently ended Glamorgan's promotion campaign by the middle of May. If this pattern is repeated this year the floodlights at the SWALEC will be powered by the righteous indignation glowing off the members.

The inability to take advantage of decent starts in the pre season has now been followed up by a lack of application and the playing of "get out shots". This will lead to many asking just where is this promised progress. To have another season making the same mistakes will leave us fans ever more frustrated. Runs from the top order is the key to success in first-class cricket. If you throw away your chance to make first innings runs wins are impossible, draws are unlikely and bonus points go unclaimed.

When the top order failed in similar fashion in the second innings against Northamptonshire the groans could be heard all the way in Aberystwyth. The opening match has left Glamorgan fans fearing that this season will be a five-month dental appointment without the added bonus of nitrous oxide. But for rain coming to the rescue ignominious defeat was inevitable.

There are some "positives". Mike Reed continued to impress getting pace and bounce from the Cardiff pitch. He is a truly exciting prospect who has a fluid run up and his height gives him an even more potent arsenal. Michael Hogan has pace a plenty and will be a real wicket taking threat throughout the season. That Justin Langer was so disappointed to lose his services at Western Australia speaks volumes as to his talent. Jim Allenby's bowling continued in its usual fashion, making use of the movement that cricket in England in the early season gives you, and he will be amongst the wickets.

While his stay at the crease lasted Mark Wallace showed some of the positive intent and good form from last year. Marcus North and Murray Goodwin are fine players and will score big in Division Two of the Championship sooner rather than later.

It is far too early to write off chances of success completely. The advantage that Glamorgan have is that the failings that led to the poor showing in the opening round of the Championship are obvious. There is no doubt what needs to be worked on. The top order need to score runs. This is simple to say and somewhat harder to achieve. There are talented players in the squad and the time has come to use that ability out in the middle. Scores of 20-30 are not good enough and Glamorgan batsmen will know this.

Worcestershire are the next visitors to the SWALEC. With some help from the batsmen and the weather the seam bowling attack can win this game. Over to you gents...

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Peter Miller writes for thearmchairselector.com. The two things he loves most are ugly runs and cricket stats. He tweets here

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Posted by   on (April 18, 2013, 7:32 GMT)

I really like the look of Hogan. Have faith that North will come good.

Posted by Winsome on (April 17, 2013, 18:26 GMT)

I hope Marcus North does score for Glamorgan and sooner rather than later. He was so bad for WA that he stepped down from the captaincy then about two games later got dropped for lack of form. He's a big hole and no mistake.

But Hogan is a good buy. He never gives up.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Peter Miller
Peter Miller is the UK editor of thearmchairselector.com. He has written on cricket for All Out Cricket and Sports Illustrated. A long-standing cricket nerd, he lives in Wales with his long-suffering wife and many dogs. @TheCricketGeek

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