The 2012 County Season has come and gone but cricket fans are already looking forward to next season. Social Network sites and forums are filled with predictions on who should go and who they need to bolster their promotion hopes or challenge for the Division One title. It’s not just the supporters that are looking ahead…
|Harris...hands up if you're Division One bound|
Young England hopefuls who ply their trade in the second divisions are seeking new Counties in the shop window of Division One - invoking clauses in their contracts to further their international ambitions.
Glamorgan’s James Harris is the biggest name to do so this season. A Glamorgan boy through and through, he has realised that to progress to where he wants (and needs) to be, he has to leave Sophia Gardens.
Not many players can say that they have made their first class debut at the age of 16, nor can they say that they have taken a seven wicket haul in the Championship at 17. Still only 22, with England Lions honours and the experience of leading an attack for a good five years, he should have no trouble finding new employers.
Nottinghamshire are the favourites for Harris’ services, although Surrey and Champions Warwickshire will not be out of the running for a man with 228 County wickets and over 1500 runs.
|Brooks...on his way out of Wantage Road|
Jack Brooks, the Oxon Oxen, is another one to fly the nest of Division 2, leaving Northamptonshire.
Brooks was a late comer to the County scene (the complete opposite of Harris) having played Minor County cricket until the age of 24. He showed everyone how far he has come in such a short period by playing and taking six wickets in the tour match against the West Indies.
"I've taken this decision to leave Northants because I want to compete at the highest level possible," Brooks said. "The opportunities being offered to me are too good to turn down, and I owe it to myself to explore all avenues as I continue my quest for international honours."
I’m sure that a lot of people involved with the club are going to be sad about Brooks’ departure. Having interviewed him we can say that he is a lovely man, intelligent and funny to boot. It’s easy to label somebody a ‘character’ but Brooks is just that. I have no doubt that next season - injury free - he will take division one by storm.
There is a big gap between the two divisions and quite rightly so. We need to create a top level, similar to the Premier League in football, which will only benefit the national side.
The down side to this is that Counties will feel that they are becoming feeder clubs but a part of English cricket’s Performance Related Fee Payments goes to the counties for developing England players. Leicestershire, at the pit of Divison 2 this year will be benefitting from the progress of James Taylor and Stuart Broad. They can get up to £100,000 a year for Broad.