Well, its the first time in the four years of doing this blog that I have been able to do a Monday Musings with Derbyshire top of the Championship table and sitting one from one in the CB40. Good times!
It has been a remarkable start and few among the Derbyshire faithful, when the season started in March, would have expected us to be still unbeaten as we enter the second week of May. A strong team ethic in which all have played a part has been a major contributory factor, while the spirit engendered by Karl Krikken has been evident for all to see. They are in it as a team and will win and lose as one.
Top marks also have to go to Wayne Madsen, who has done little wrong so far. His batting wasn't at its best in the early games, with the pitches more akin to minefields, but he showed his mettle after inordinately trying personal circumstances against Gloucestershire with a century that must already be a contender for David Griffin's "Eddie Barlow moment" award for the season. Yesterday he played a selfless, brisk cameo at the end of the innings, the type of knock to which we have become accustomed in recent seasons.
Most of all, Madsen has shown himself a leader of considerable potential. His field settings have been good, his bowling changes sensible and his leadership of the team excellent. They are behind him to a man and the results, as they say, have been evident.
Of course, there will be stronger tests to come and that is when we will be better placed to assess the extent of the progress of this side. Hampshire, starting on Wednesday, will be our sternest Championship test yet, with Simon Katich doubtless wanting runs against his old county and the side wanting revenge for the extraordinary defeat in Barbados.
Then next weekend we play Warwickshire, another side in prime form that has taken Division One by storm this summer. We will have our work cut out for sure, but there is enough talent in this team to ensure that no one will take beating us for granted. The days when we rolled over and died have gone, my friends. We will suffer defeats this season, just like any other side (just like Nottinghamshire today, hehehe....) but it will be through others outplaying us, not like of talent or application.
Progress, progress, progress.
Preview of Hampshire tomorrow....