Home > Opinion > A Paucity of Englishness: Kolpak of the Year 2008
picture of Wavell Hinds
Wavell Hinds (left) in celebratory mood.

A Paucity of Englishness: Kolpak Of the Year 2008

by Robin Holmes

According to some reports the Kolpak glory years may soon be a thing of the past. Well I know lawyers who argue differently; and others who predict that change will be a long time coming. It's an important issue but let's put it aside for the time-being, open the champagne, and celebrate with master of ceremonies Robin Holmes as the winners of this years Kolpak of the Year Awards are announced.

I Can't Believe They Want Me Back Next Year Award 2008
And the winner is: Wavell Hinds

picture of Wavell Hinds

Renowned for poor footwork and a good eye, Hinds was always going to struggle on seaming English pitches. Derby probably knew they were gambling but would have been hoping for more than three fifties (a highest score of 76) in nine matches.

This is a good example of a household name - of sorts - being favoured over investment in local players. Incredibly he has been offered a new deal which will see him at the Club until at least 2010.

County Origin Age Matches Innings Runs Average Wickets
Derbyshire Jamaica 32 9 13 407 31.30 10

I Want to Qualify for England Award 2008
And the winner is: Dominic Telo

picture of Dominic Telo

What makes a much vaunted 22-year-old South African sign a contract with Derbyshire? The possibilities are endless, perfectly understandable and totally rational: ambition to be a professional cricketer, desire to glean advice from new coaches and old pro's, the intrigue of English conditions, envy of colleagues who are doing the same thing, or even simple wanderlust.

While there may be many people who bemoan the Kolpak ruling, all but a very few of these would actually find fault in a cricketer taking advantage of it.

But why is it that so many of these journeymen consider it necessary to declare their intent to qualify for England? Perhaps it should just be dismissed as a naïve attempt to win public favour - that is unless you happen to be a former coach or club secretary, in which case it is likely you will regard it as a two fingered gesture.

Even when the mind is set and there is no hope of reconciliation, decency demands the employment of tact and sensitivity when initiating a relationship breakup. Good manners aside, being considerate has its practical advantages. For you just never know - especially after the sort of season Dominic Telo had - when you might ask to be taken back.

County Origin Age Matches Innings Runs Average
Derbyshire South Africa 22 7 14 263 18.78

I Helped Out Surrey Award 2008
And the winner is: Pedro Collins

picture of Pedro Collins

Surrey might be forgiven for hoping the left arm swing of Collins would cause batsmen problems - after all Ryan Sidebottom has demonstrated its value season after season. But after a mediocre summer his decision to abandon Test cricket seems questionable - and the fact that he has played 32 Tests produces more lamentations that standards of West Indian cricket have declined so sharply.

By way of contrast, Tim Murtagh who left Surrey last year in search of increased responsibility at Middlesex was one of the standout bowlers of 2008.

County Origin Age Matches Innings Runs Average Wickets Bowling Average
Surrey Barbados 32 12 13 53 5.88 27 41.51

That Was Quick Award 2008
And the winner is: Jermaine Lawson

picture of Jermaine Lawson

There is something symmetrical about the respective failures of Jermaine Lawson and Pakistan's Shoaib Akhter - who managed just the one Division One wicket at the slightly higher average of 117.00. But whereas Shoaib attracted much media attention - and criticism - Lawson had slipped away quietly by mid-May.

It must have been hugely disappointing for those Leicestershire fans who had believed the pre-season hype that the pace of Lawson and Garnett Kruger would bring about a revival in the County's fortunes.

County:  Origin Age Matches Wickets Bowling Average
Leicestershire Jamaica 26 2 2 94.00