Blessing in disguise for the shire?
Gloucestershire's chances of securing the services of New Zealand fast-bowler Kyle Mills were dashed as the Kiwi was snapped up in the Indian Premier League auction on Friday.
Chief-executive Tom Richardson declared that a deal was almost done with Mills, but his participation in the IPL scuppered the deal, which would have seen the 29-year-old at Nevil Road for the first half of the season.
The news is a major blow to supporters who saw the signing of a quality oversees player a necessity, and in Kyle Mills an ideal candidate was found. The bowler provides enough pace to be a genuine threat - lacking in Glos attacks of recent seasons - and his ability to swing the ball would have been enhanced in British conditions; going far in helping the side take 20 wickets in a match - a rare feat of late.
However, with a deal for only half the season on the table, would that have been the right move? Should the shire find themselves well placed and ready to kick-on in the second half of the season, what a major blow it would be to suddenly lose the man who's spearheaded the attack.
I would like an oversees player to be able to offer a great deal to a squad and help them develop, not to simply swan around for three months, collect the cheque and get the next flight out of Bristol airport - now I'm not doubting what Kyle Mills could offer, but surely a longer term deal would be a better investment?
When Herschelle Gibbs arrived at Glamorgan last year, he blazed a few runs in the Twenty20 cup and propelled them into the quarter-final, however, in his absence the team flopped and continued to perform poorly to include a pro40 play-off defeat. Gibbs was the quick-fix - set up some excitement but in reality achieve nothing. Mills could have been just that for Gloucestershire; has the Bombay Indians' $150,000 avoided potential long-term problems?
There is another young New Zealand fast-bowler who's phone number I'm sure incoming coach John Bracewell will have to hand. Tim Southee is an excellent cricketer who would be fantastic acquisition - and perhaps the 19-year-old could be persuaded to stay for the full term? I would certainly prefer a player of his ilke, rather than a journeyman signing - as the flirtation with Ben Hilfenhaus may prove to be.
Supporters can take heart that the county were able to attract such quality as Kyle Mills and one can hope this is Gloucestershire recognising what is required and taking positive steps to deliver.