Witness this conversation between myself and Darren Gough on Twitter this evening (don't ask why I am on Twitter on a Friday night):
Gough: what about b c lara possibly making a comeback playing for surrey t20?god they need him
Me: Don't agree Goughie, we need him in our four day side! Getting him for the T20 sends the wrong msg and he was terrible in the ICL!
Gough: Disagree you got to redevelop your 4 day side you have ramps for that,need him for t20 with money thats at stake and crowds
Me: we are redeveloping it, but we've only got one bat - Ramps. Don't want Surrey to be a vehicle for Lara to sell himself to the IPL.
Gough: Get used to it thats the only reason hes playing,so obvious
Me: Doesn't mean I have to like it Goughie,is that how you see county cricket now,a window just for players to get into the IPL?
Gough: Get a grip lad,read what i say b c lara wants to cash in on the ipl is way in is to play county t20
Me: I don't think Surrey's Twenty20 campaign should be about getting Lara into the IPL,not right for the team.
Lets leave aside the apparent disdain Goughie has for a lowly Twitter user such as I, and instead focus on this: does he really think its ok for county cricket to be used as a vehicle for ageing retired internationals to put themselves in the shop window for a crack at some extra cash in the IPL? What about advancing young English players?
I could just be over reacting here, but as has been said elsewhere the money we could be set to splash on getting Lara in for a few T20s could be much better spent on a younger, more promising player who would genuinely enhance the future prospects of Surrey County Cricket Club. As it is, Surrey appear happy to bring Lara in to (maybe) fill the Oval and sell a few shirts...oh and along the way see if he can't enhance his chances of a contract with the new Kochi franchise in the IPL.
Maybe this is the future of county cricket, just a sort of feeder series for the IPL and all its riches, I'd be interested to know what others think of that, particularly Indian readers? Personally I find the prospect that any player would use county cricket just as a means to get themselves into the IPL a bit cynical, but maybe I just need to wake up and smell Modi's coffee!
How, in a cricketing sense, would Lara's presence help Surrey's progression? I would love to see him on board in some sort of coaching or consultative role, he has talent and experience that is unmatched by any other, but in cricketing terms I really believe he would add little to a Twenty20 campaign.
I will be the first to put my hands up and say I was wrong if he cracks a thrilling hundred for us, or even just wins us a match here or there, but I am genuinely concerned at the direction this appears to show Surrey going in.