AS a sports journalist you can usually count on cricket season as a slightly quieter time of the year.
By the same token, over the last couple of years we’ve nearly been able to bank on Western Zone selectors to drop a few bombshells and liven up November.
If it’s not picking a Scotsman straight off a plane ahead of cricketers who have given a decade of service to the region it’s selecting a player who is currently serving a five-game suspension for a well documented grand final misdemeanour.
Straight up, if the Mitchell-Lachlan-Macquarie Valley inter-council trials aren’t going to be used as such, why play the games at all? Save everyone the time and effort and just pick a zone outfit.
On first glance, that’s what looks like occurs anyway.
Why dangle the carrot in front of 36 players and then say to them ‘Look, sorry, we were never really considering some of you. We always intended to pick a player who hasn’t yet played this season. Come back again next year’?
I wouldn’t blame some players if they said ‘thanks, but no thanks’.
Flat out naming a suspended player is a slap in the face to those who played at Wade Park over the last two weekends and the Orange District Cricket Association, who are privately seething the suspension they handed down has been held in such little regard.
I get being loyal, especially to a winning squad.
And the Western Zone side that took out the 2012-13 NSW Country Championship deserves loyalty.
Including Tim Cox who was a late call-up to play the final against the Central Coast, 10 of last year’s champion side will again do the rounds when the country championships kick-off at Wade Park against the Riverina on November 15.
But why do players like Stephen Knight and Jameel Qureshi - both there last year - miss out when both played for Macquarie and Mitchell in the trials and both have runs on the board this season.
Why no loyalty to those guys?
Mitch Bower deserves his place as a new face, his 101 against Lachlan was brilliant, and guys like Peter Yelland (63 versus Mitchell) and Matt Fearnley (seven wickets) are probably very unlucky to miss out.
By the same token, Ryan Medley (duck and 27) and Josh Toole (five and 10) can probably count their lucky stars they’re in the 13-man squad.
But the prospect of any player who played for Mitchell, Lachlan and Macquarie making way for a player who was only recently charged with bringing the game into disrepute is just mind boggling.
Why does he deserve a Western Zone cap over everyone else?
Aside from Bower and Pat Rosser - the zone skipper hit 88 in Lachlan’s three wicket win over Macquarie - no player really shouted ‘pick me’ from the top of Wade Park.
But I wouldn’t have thought twiddling thumbs in the stands over the last month would either, not when the rest of the zone’s best cricketers have spent valuable time in the middle at both district and representative levels.