King Cricket’s 2014 county players to watch

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That’s ‘players to watch in 2014’. We don’t have 2,014 players to keep an eye on. In fact, we’ve got fewer than ever before – just five.

A reminder of the qualification criteria:

  • Qualified to play for England
  • No established internationals
  • Youngish
  • Playing in the first division of the County Championship

Usman Arshad, Durham

It’s always worth having a Durham seamer in your ‘ones to watch’. Somewhat optimistically, were going with Usman Arshad this year, even though he’s never taken a five-wicket haul. He did pick up a wicket every four-and-a-half overs last season, however. It’ll never last. Let’s watch it not last. In fact, since we wrote this, it has already not lasted.

Kyle Hogg, Lancashire

It’s always worth having a Lancashire player in your ‘ones to watch’. Kyle Hogg seemed to go up a notch a year or so ago, but thanks to his team-mates’ shoddy batting he’s had to spend a year atrophying in the second division. Let’s see what’s left of him.

Tom Smith, Lancashire

It’s always worth having two Lancashire players in your ‘ones to watch’. Tom Smith was something of a fixture in this feature in the early days after we turned up to watch the first day of the County Championship in 2006 and saw him do sort of okay. He seems to be picking up again of late. We fully expect him to take 3-56 or score 42 not out relatively frequently this year.

Adil Rashid, Yorkshire

If Tom Smith was something of a fixture in this feature, what does that make Adil Rashid? We named him in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. He hasn’t had great bowling returns in the last couple of years, but since when have mere trifles like ‘evidence’ trumped illogical hope? Call it the sunk cost fallacy, but we just know that he’s going to have a brilliant year in 2014. It’s too late to back out of this now.

Rashid’s probably still four years away from his peak. It could still happen. It isn’t beyond the bounds of possibility. Also, he did hit three hundreds and average 50 last season, so at least we can use phrases like ‘he has something to offer’.

Keith Barker, Warwickshire

He’s definitely someone who takes wickets without attracting too much attention. Let’s give him a small amount to address that. We can then also check on Rikki Clarke and Chris Woakes while we’re looking at Warwickshire scorecards.


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  1. While you’re looking at the current Warwickshire scorecard, you can admire THE GREATEST COMEBACK IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD.

    The Sledgehammer of Eternal Justice strikes again.

    1. Man, it’s weird to read unhinged, upper-case overenthusiasm for the County Championship when we haven’t written it ourself.

    2. Fair enough. But there’s still time. I’m backing The Sledgehammer to beat Sabbir Rahman’s 259.

    3. Don’t wish to be picky (or do I?) but don’t you have to win for it to be a comeback? Otherwise it’s just a “consolation try”, or something like that. And as I look, you’re losing.

    4. I’ve just had another look, to see if anything has changed, and yes – things have changed. You’ve moved on from just “losing” to “getting hammered”. Maybe there are different standards for THE GREATEST COMEBACK IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD in Warwickshire. Maybe in Warwickshire THE GREATEST COMEBACK IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD happens whenever you don’t lose by an innings when it seemed like that would happen. Maybe someone just forgot to tell your bowlers about the plan to have THE GREATEST COMEBACK IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD, and they were still working on their original plan to have THE GREATEST WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON OFF IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD.

    5. The odd thing in that Bangladesh match is that Rajshahi batted again even though they had a lead of 467. It’s as if they were afraid of a greater comeback than the greatest comeback this week.

  2. I think this is Leics’ best start to the season for years. No defeats still!

    Okay, no games played either, but you have to walk before you can run.

  3. agnew’s rattling on about england players not having enough pride, yadda yadda… “Look at the Australians and the way they all buy into the iconic status of the baggy green.”

    well they do NOW, but ian chappell reckons this cap-worship is a very moderm phenomenon, deliberately whipped up by steve waugh. back in chappell’s day they didn’t bother about such nonsense, but this didn’t stop the aussies being a hugely competitive and aggressive side. in other words, chest-beating tear-in-eye patriotism may not necessarily be the missing ingredient here?

    (don’t get me wrong, i’m not claiming to know what the missing ingredient is – otherwise *i’d* be asking for the friggin job. maybe there is no solution to this? maybe this is just one of those cyclical things, and england have had their time at – or near – the top and will have to wait for the next convergence of auspices..?)

    1. The notion that their poor performances are down to a lack of pride is, frankly, bollocks. If we were an England player, we’d be pretty insulted by that Agnew column.

  4. Shocking North of England bias in your ones to watch this year, KC.

    Throwing in a token Midlander to try to cover your bias does not wash with the initiated.

    As for the greatest comebacks in the entire history of this week…I laughed and laughed. Thanks guys.

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