Idle thoughts and rants - just seven days from the start of the new season - and four days from a BBC forecast of snow over London!
Money for Nothing -
In normal circumstances, having a settled first six in the batting order would be a good thing, but typically for England, in this case it's not. Strauss and Bell score hundreds against a bowling attack that was little more than Division 2 county standard, and suddenly they are world-beaters again. The two of them must be laughing all the way to their next central contract. And then there's the skipper. A much heralded ton against the West Indies last summer, but not a heck of a lot since then. No doubt all three of them will get runs in the Kiwi tests this summer - but what will that prove?
Giles Clarke seems to have the right idea in terms of maybe reducing the overall worth of a central contract, and paying the rest by performance.
Temporary, Like Achilles?
Reports are that Freddie is aiming for a Lords Test comeback in May - but, really, what's the hurry? It's not like he's needed at this stage, after all. Why not play the best part of a season for Lancashire - which would certainly please some county treasurers, and look to return later in the summer, maybe for the last couple of tests against South Africa. This would mean that he comes back with some overs under his belt, and with some decent time in the middle with the bat. After all, if the ankle goes for a fourth time, that really is 'stumps' in terms of his career.
Sins of the Father
What's Mike Selvey's problem with Stuart Broad? Every time he mentions the blonde bombshell in the Guardian there are enough caveats floating around to fill the servants quarters in Andrew Strauss's mansion. And it's not just Selvey - Angus Fraser and Derek Pringle are happy to pile in too, casting doubt on Broad's action, temperament and even his stamina. As a guess, maybe Chris Broad wasn't the most popular person on the county scene and Broad Minor is reaping the rewards , in a 'next generation pays the price' type deal.
Talking of Stuart Broad, I'd guess there hasn't been an English bowling attack with quite as much hair as Broad, Sidebottom, Show Pony and Monty since Led Zeppelin used to appear together in charity matches in the early 70's.
Lots of talk of Joe Denly getting into the England set up this summer. Let's hope not, as Kent need him this summer to have any chance of staying in Division One. Rob Key kept them in the top flight batting-wise last season, so it would be nice to have someone else who can give them a thousand runs in the Championship.
The TRSM computer whizz-kids have hacked into Peter Moores' lap top, and we can now exclusively reveal the starting eleven for the first Ashes test at Lords next summer: -
12th Man - Rashid (Presumably to give Owais Shah some time off...)
If Shoaib Akhtar is going to be allowed to play in the IPL, despite his five year ban, will Marlon Samuels be allowed to bowl? Similarly, if a player is caught 'doing a Giddens' in his relevent domestic game, will the IPL overlook that as well? If so, the IPL could quickly become the cricketing version of 'Hamsterdam' in The Wire. Maybe they'll offer Dwayne Chambers a contract as a 'pinch runner'!
Season in the Sun
Finally - the TRSM predictions for this year's County Championship...
Division One - Lancashire to win, with Sussex and Somerset picking up Champions League places. Relegation spots to be filled from two out of Hampshire, Kent and Nottinghamshire.
Division Two - Middlesex and Warwickshire to come up.
Which means that next season's Division One could well include all seven test host counties - conspiracy theorists might suggest that that was the idea all along.