The County Week - July 16-23 July 24, 2006

Langer's triple and Yorkshire's resurgance

Cricinfo's County Week returns after a break for the Twenty20 with a look back over the last week of action as the race for the County Championship resumes and the new Pro40 tournament begins

Cricinfo's County Week returns after a break for the Twenty20 with a look back over the last week of action as the race for the County Championship resumes and the new Pro40 tournament begins.

Justin Langer drives during the first triple century of his career © Martin Williamson
Innings of the week - Justin Langer, 342 v Surrey at Guildford
With the sun out and temperatures soaring batsmen the length and breadth of the county have been filling their boots as double and even triple centuries are racked up. However, Justin Langer pips everyone with his mammoth 342 on a road at Guildford as 1405 runs were piled up for just 18 wickets over the four days. Langer is only over here for five weeks, just enough time to find his form ahead of the Australian season, and has certainly gone about making the most of it. The first triple-ton of his career follows 464 runs in the Twenty20 - not a competition you would automatically associate with Langer's style of play. Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?

Bowling of the week - Graham Wagg, 6 for 38 v Somerset at Taunton
Finally some good news in the career of Graham Wagg, the talented left-arm seamer who was once tipped for England honours before he was banned for drug use. After his ban Derbyshire offered him a second chance at first-class cricket but a shoulder injury restricted his appearances early season. However, his six-wicket haul against Somerset showed that the talent that had been spotted early - and earned an England Academy spot in 2002-03 - is still there. Bowlers don't often come out on top at Taunton but Wagg's second-innings demolition job continued Derbyshire's mini resurgence in 2006.

Team of the week - Yorkshire
In recent seasons the Twenty20 has served as a catalyst to turn around the summer of a struggling county. Leicestershire and Somerset have previously found Twenty20 success despite entering the tournament in poor form; this year Yorkshire are following a similar route - and carrying their form forward. Fresh from securing their Twenty20 quarter-final berth, Craig White's team has won two Championship matches on the bounce after failing to register a win before Twenty20. They have even been without Darren Lehmann for their latest match against Warwickshire, but Jason Gillespie has finally started taking wickets and youngsters such as Michael Lumb, Tim Bresnan and Adil Rashid have stood up.

Adil Rashid leaves the field after his six-wicket haul against Warwickshire © Martin Williamson
The, don't do that to him
Talking of Adil Rashid, an 18-year-old legspinner, who has begun his career with 6 for 67 against Warwickshire, it goes to show what talent is hiding away in the league system. But let's not get carried away by Rashid's debut and build him up only the knock him down. Legspinners, more than any other cricketer, need time to develop and many don't find their prime until after 30. Anil Kumble and Shane Warne are two who just seem to get better with age. England don't produce many leggies, and they don't seem to know how to handle them, as the careers of Ian Salisbury and Chris Schofield will testify. Yorkshire have another young legspinner on their books, too, called Mark Lawson. Let's given them time.

No love lost again for Warne
Shane Warne doesn't just leave his mark with the ball, he is not shy of making his feelings known either. Already this summer he has had a run-in with Robert Key over Kent's negative approach during their Championship match in May and last week Hampshire's clash with Nottinghamshire ended with some tension in the air. Hampshire controlled the match from start to finish, and could have enforced the follow-on, but Warne decided to bat again and set a target. On the final David Hussey, Warne's team-mate at Victoria, thwarted them with a fine 150. A few decisions didn't go Hampshire's way and Warne refused to applaud any of Hussey's landmarks.

Oh dear Sourav
You'd have thought the counties would have learnt by now. Sourav Ganguly had, shall we say, difficult stints at Lancashire and Glamorgan as an overseas player but still Northamptonshire were happy for his signature. So far, he'll be earning a rather hefty sum for each run scored - his first-class knocks have been 0, 2, 6, 2 and 5 (retired hurt against the Pakistanis). His Twenty20 form was marginally better with 215 runs in eight matches but don't expect too many teams to rush for him next season.

England watch
Ed Joyce follows his comeback 211 against Warwickshire with 68 against Sussex...His team-match Jamie Dalrymple chips in with 60 and earns a call-up to the Test squad...Liam Plunkett scores 28 and takes two wickets before breaking down against West Indies A...Geraint Jones hits 41 in a rare outing for Kent in the Pro40.

Andrew McGlashan is editorial assistant of Cricinfo