Cricket by tradition adopts ideas drawn from football only after long and painstaking consideration. The County Championship had been going for 110 years, for instance, before the concept of promotion and relegation was embraced. The introduction this year of a loan transfer system seems, by comparison, to have been rushed through.
It is already gaining popularity. Beset by an injury crisis ruling out three frontline seamers, the First Division leaders Nottinghamshire have borrowed 20-year-old Oliver Newby from Second Division Lancashire for a month.
Newby, who played in one first-class match for Lancashire last season, has been straining at the leash after a good pre-season. But with the England pair, Andrew Flintoff and James Anderson, both available, there was simply no opportunity, even though Mike Watkinson, director of cricket at Old Trafford, was keen to pick him. The chance to switch to Trent Bridge, therefore, appealed to the player and both counties.
"The loan system is a welcome introduction and I always thought we might make use of it," the Nottinghamshire cricket director, Mick Newell, said.
Being asked to take the new ball when Notts won the toss placed Newby under immediate pressure but, with allowance made for inexperience, he responded well. He was unlucky not to have the Kent opener David Fulton caught behind in his opening spell but was successful in the afternoon.
Newby cut short Matthew Walker's progress with an inswinging yorker before claiming the notable scalp of the South Africa all-rounder Andrew Hall, out for a duck, hooking, on his Kent debut.
When Fulton and Rob Key were putting on 81 for the first wicket, Kent seemed set for a substantial score. But they were pegged back by the efforts of Ryan Sidebottom, whose unstinting enthusiasm allied to a consistently testing length fully merited his five wickets.
Sidebottom removed Kent's top three batsmen, having Key caught at third slip, Martin van Jaarsveld caught behind and Fulton out by the same route, to the relief of Dave Hussey, who had dropped him in the slips 10 runs earlier.
At 192 for 7 after 20-year-old left-arm spinner Samit Patel had made Simon Cook his maiden first-class victim, Kent appeared to be falling below par.
The wicketkeeper Niall O'Brien organised their recovery in a 68-run partnership with Min Patel but Sidebottom struck again with the new ball as O'Brien became the third Kent batsman who could not build on a half-century, although the tail wagged enough to earn the visitors a third batting point.Reuse content