The County can look back on the past season with a great deal of satisfaction. To finish fourth in the County Championship after our unenviable record in recent years was a tremendous achievement.
This enormous revitalisation of the team occurred directly as a result of the efforts and inspiration of one man, our Captain Garfield Sobers. So much has already been said about this truly great player that further comments would seem utterly inadequate. It would, however, be a serious omission to fail to point out that as a result of agreeing to play for Notts, he accepted what was probably the greatest and most difficult challenge of his illustrious career.
His personal figures, good as they were despite ignoring them in so selfless a manner, totally belied the enormous impact his play, apart from his personality and approach, had on every game the County played. Despite being the leading professional cricket in the world his attitude to the game is remarkably and refreshingly un-professional in many respects, and his cricket is entirely free from gamesmanship and is always positive. One cannot imagine anyone setting a better example.
There is no doubt whatsoever that drastic action will have to be taken with regard to the excessive pad play of many present day batsmen. There is nothing more frustrating to the onlooker than this so-called professional way of batting, and this committee will do its utmost in assisting to bring to an end this dreadful malady in cricket today.
Our success, tremendous as it was, could have been considerably better if our fielding, or rather our catching close to the wicket, had been merely of average standard. Unfortunately this type of fielding is a specialist’s job, calling for considerable experience and confidence, but our supporters can rest assured that everything possible will be done to eradicate this weakness.
However, there is no doubt that the team generally responded tremendously to their Captain’s inspiration and practically all the players raised their games accordingly. Michael Taylor continued his improved and promise of recent years and was most unfortunate to miss taking his hundred wickets for the first time by merely one wicket. David Halfyard, on his return to County Cricket after an absence of six years through serious injury, proved a tower of strength and illustrated that value of experience in this class of cricket and his zest for bowling was good to see.
Carlton Forbes had a slightly disappointing season, but probably never regained his true fitness following his illness last winter. We look forward to him regaining his old form this coming year, his benefit year which we hope will be a successful one. The batting showed far more stability than in recent years and, with ever increasing confidence, provided us with some entertaining batsmanship. With such a fine mentor they should go from strength to strength.
Norman Hill will be missing from the side after 15 years of excellent service but Basharat Hassan will again be available, and after his experiences with the Cavaliers he should be able to fill the gap and do very well.