It was reassuring to read in today's Derby Telegraph that Karl Krikken was big enough to admit to Derbyshire's T20 failings. It was pleasing to read also that his thoughts on the campaign were exactly the same as mine, espoused a few days earlier.
Lack of experience, poor batting and insufficient input from the overseas players were the major issues, though they were probably identified by most people. The first two are related, of course and will continue to be issues until players mature or additional experience can be injected into the side from the overseas role or another form.
As you may have read on the club site, the First XI effectively became the Seconds today as they started a game against Leicestershire. It was absolutely the right thing for Karl Krikken to do and will hopefully bring dividends when we resume Championship activity next week. The four-day Derbyshire this summer has been a different beast to the limited overs side and the return of Tony Palladino to the seam attack will give us a fresh and invigorated edge as we approach the critical stage of the season.
There have been a couple of areas of critical comment in recent weeks while I was away. One was the omission of Palladino from the T20 side, but I am 100% behind Krikk in keeping him fresh for the run-in, when he may have a lot of bowling. It is very easy for seam bowlers to pick up niggles in T20, when they are adjusting their actions to bowl different paces and lengths, as well as diving around the outfield. Rana Naved was signed as a strike bowler anyway and most fans would rank Clare and Groenewald as better batsmen (without decrying the talents of the ever-improving Palladino). No quibbles there from me.
There were also comments around the captaincy and some decisions made by Wayne Madsen, but again, while accepting that mistakes were made, I'd put much down to relative inexperience and the pressure of the competition. Having captained a side for nine seasons in 20-over cricket, it requires a lot more thought and work ball-by-ball than longer games. There was one occasion when we had, I think, too many fielders outside the ring and a no ball ensued, but that, for me, should have been something the vice-captain was keeping an eye on as well. We have a massive learning curve in that cricket and Madsen, a player and man for who I have the utmost respect, will be a stronger and better captain for his experience this summer.
I have had a couple of e mails with suggestions for overseas players for next summer, but with respect to the senders, the players concerned, while undoubtedly being good for the side, will be 99% certain to be playing in the ICC Trophy next June when the T20 takes place.
Put it this way. If AB de Villiers isn't in the South African side he'll be injured, so either way he isn't going to be playing for Derbyshire or anyone else.