Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Circling wolves...

Remember last summer, the one of sweetness and light, where we led the table for most of it (a division below, lest we forget...) and emerged as champion county?

It would appear that a few supporters have forgotten it, so treat the above as an aide memoire if you will. This summer hasn't been easy for any of us, but the reasons have been well enough covered in many previous posts and comments.

Last night I deleted a post from 'Anon'  - it's always 'Anon' - who said that we should dispense with the services of the coach and find a new captain. It's a free country and everyone is entitled to an opinion, but some make less sense than others and are not expressed in a manner that is 'user friendly'.

For the benefit of the above 'supporter', changing coach mid-season has no merit in my opinion and, while Karl Krikken has made decisions that some of us see as mistakes this summer, that's par for the course with sport. Every Saturday afternoon there are 20,000 better managers of Derby County than Nigel Clough, most of them wise after the event. None of them, like us, are privy to the innermost secrets of the club and why player X cannot play for a personal reason, or player Y has a crisis of confidence. It happens and I recall a lengthy chat I had with a head of cricket from another county a few seasons back, when he told me that some of the decisions he had to make regarding the team selection sometimes had nothing to do with cricket.

As supporters, irrespective of results, we need to stay behind the club. We are currently in a decent position in T20 and, as has been said times many, the reality is that last year's promotion came too soon for a young squad. Krikken, Grant and others need time to develop a side or squad, either with the addition of players from within or outside the club. It will be as obvious to them as it is to us where the shortcomings are, but these will need addressed in the close season.

That will be, of course, as finances permit. We're not going to go and sign three £100K players, two of them openers, to change things around, as we haven't got the money. We do need to use the cash that we have sensibly and I am sure that lessons will continue to be learned in this respect. Yet you can only sign players who are available, are not looking for a king's ransom and are not awash with offers. Those three criteria will continue to affect our hunt for team improvements, as unlike a few other counties we cannot simply tell a player and his agent to name the price.

As for replacing Madsen as skipper - why? It is easy to captain a good team. I don't really accept that Clive Lloyd, for example, was a great skipper. He had a great record, but look at the players he had! In the field he had only to bowl Holding and Garner for six each, then replace with Marshall and Roberts, allowing one of the latter to bowl a longer spell to bring back one of the openers. Repeat until you win...

Wayne Madsen doesn't have that luxury. He is captain of a misfiring batting line up, but has led by example, while his bowlers have largely proved less effective at a higher level. When the wickets are conducive to their talents, the batting has struggled to cope. He is on a hiding to nothing, yet has maintained a dignity and composure that has been as striking as his own form. When I was in Edinburgh, a couple of people told me how impressed they had been with him, especially in his conduct and attitude. I can think of no one better to be skipper for some time to come, especially as experience improves captaincy beyond measure.

I am sure that Derbyshire will want to have a succession policy in place for the point, hopefully in the distant future, at which Madsen decides he has had enough, but there is no one in the current set up who could do a better job.

Ride out the storm people. It's been no more fun for me than anyone else this summer, but there have been many darker days than these and it is important to keep a sense of perspective.

In closing - and for the benefit of 'Anon' - I don't set myself up as Derbyshire's biggest fan. I'm just a bloke who writes a blog about the team he supports. Saying 'I'm a bigger fan than you' is akin to 'My Dad is bigger than yours' or comparing anatomical size.

Somewhat pointless, at the end of the day.


Anonymous said...

Good piece Peakfan. What we have is an internet culture where the throw away comments that we all make as sports fans get recorded in writing and thus become much more embedded and hard hitting.So it amazes me why so many come on here to tell us how crap we were yesterday, when all it is, is to state the bleeding obvious.

Sports fans always have the temptation to judge the coaches for a teams defeats and it always easy to state the non selected guys would do better than the chosen ones.So hence the clamour for Ben and others to appear, but when given the chance it sadly wasn't taken, but I am sure at some stage he will come good.They have now tried Johnson as a batsman presumably having seen technical ability. One innings in which all batsmen failed is hardly conclusive. Of course it suited the dissenters that he didn't get any runs.

What we currently have is one of those sporting phenomena where the harder you try the worse things seem to go. Watching Kent struggle in the T20 or Somerset and Essex in the CC is similar. Once momentum is lost in cricket it is a very difficult thing to recover as confidence, self belief and relaxation seem to disappear and are keys to success. On an individual level a good example is Alex Hales, a fine player but currently can't buy a run in the CC.

I don't blame you for trying to keep your own blog positive and you may need to moderate some posts to keep the overall flavour to your own taste and mine for that matter. If other supportrs want to whine incessantly and rant at the coaches let them start their own blogs/twitterings and they can wallow in their own misery.

I personally find your perspective interesting, informed and balanced. We overachieved last year ahead of the long term plan and it has caught up now. Most supporters understand that. I take the dreary content of some of the reader comments with a pinch of salt as its just rantings of those who enjoy the sound of their own rants.

Keep up the good work.


Peakfan said...

Thanks BF. Appreciate the support and the comments

Oliver said...

The murky world of psychology plays a huge role in sport, and I think this must be especially true when you're batting out in the middle in cricket - essentially alone.

While I think we did overachieve last year, our batsmen ARE technically better than this performance (and some other performances this season) suggest. Our figures last year, and our scores in the T20, point to that. [admittedly it would be difficult to be WORSE than our Durham performance suggests]. But when you're on a losing run and have a chronic loss of form and confidence then it's tough to get back. It's even tougher when you're young, when most of your team mates are also suffering in the same way, and when many of the teams you play are simply better than you, if not by a huge amount.

I like this blog because it tries to support the county in a positive manner. What I do find a bit disappointing though is that we have very few comments after notching up 3 T20 wins, whereas a bad batting performance brings out far more discussion. There may be precious few positives this season - let's at least enjoy them when they do come. And I can't see how we'll be a weaker team in D2 next year than we were last year, when we won the thing, so I still enjoy being a Derbyshire supporter today far more than for most of the past 10-15 years.

Oliver said...

I should add that I didn't post any comments after our 3 T20 wins either - so it's as much a note to myself as to anyone else!

Peakfan said...

You're right Oliver - positive comments tend to be fewer than negative as a whole!

Anonymous said...

Well said Peakfan.
Although I'm not sure I'm much of a fan of the "we were promoted too soon" theory. We won the most games in the division last season and deserved to go up. End of story.
What I do think is true is that both club and fans underestimated the difference in quality between the two divisions, perhaps because we had been in div 2 so long. It's been a tough lesson and only Madsen and Chanderpaul have shown consistent ability in this division (although plenty of others have shown flashes of good play). There have also been several players who have not played up to the talent they undoubtedly have.
Where does all this leave us? Relegation seems almost certain. Krik and Madsen should stay as coach and captain: long term continuity and stability is very important in my opinion. Whilst we've all been baffled by some selections I don't think Krik has suddenly become a bad coach overnight. And he's Derbyshire through and through.
In my view it is simply unrealistic to expect the Academy to provide most of the team so we must continue to look to the right outside signings.
But I think it important to remember two salient facts: we have one of the lowest memberships in the country and we have one of the lowest wage bills in the country. Generally speaking money does correlate with success. Until those two facts change success will be unlikely to be anything other than sporadic. That doesn't mean we shouldn't aim high, but it also means we shouldn't be overly surprised if we don't contend for trophies every season. A depressing thought perhaps, but also a realistic one.

Spireite Tim

Anonymous said...

another shambolic batting performance !

sean said...

its back to square one now, I think.

Mark said...

We have thrown the towel in, and players are now not trying. Disgraceful.

Gary said...

It's difficult. Most people have been in teams at the bottom of the league and at times whatever you try and do doesn't come off and you get deeper and deeper in trouble. You lose a few wickets and it is the same old story in the dressing room. People talk about fighting but when the other team are better than you then there is not too much more you can do.
Look at the batting averages - Durston, Redfern, Slater, Whiteley, Godleman and Poynton all average under 20. Hughes averages under 40 now despite having a 270no under his belt (is that possible!) so these lot must all be massively struggling for confidence.
Fair play to the team for starting the T20 well as this has been our bogey competition for years and we never ever do well in all competitions so hopefully that continues and cheers us up

Peakfan said...

Thanks for the comments folks. Spireite Tim - very good comment mate and totally agree with you. Likewise Gary - can't argue mate

Cheshire Chris said...

I can't help but feel gutted at another poor batting display, but I just keep thinking that in 2010/2011 (or even the start of 2012) did any of us think we'd be in Div 1 in 2013? We've come a long, long way in a short space of time. Sure, at the moment we are suffering but, sadly, the facts show that every team in the division is better than us, and by some distance too. As for the 'thrown in the towel' theory - well, some of these lads are playing for their careers, their jobs, their livelihoods so I don't buy that at all.

So, where do we go? Well, Slater, Hughes, Higginbottom and Evans should all be given championship games, for my money. Give Bozza another go too - if his contract is up this winter we might as well give him one last crack. He's looked in decent nick in the one-dayers, so tell him to go out in the CC and look to score runs, not just stay in. Same with Whiteley - go and hit the ball. He's our Trescothick - a simple, unfussy technique and he can belt the thing miles. See it, hit it. When he does that we have one hell of a player.

Mostly, get the lads enjoying their cricket. Results don't matter now, just play without fear and with enjoyment. Be proud to be Derbyshire.

Peakfan said...

Good point Chris and have just blogged similarly tonight!
The players are trying but it isn't working for some of them. Give youth a chance.
Just one point mate - Bozza has next season before his contract ends.

Tim, Chesterfield said...

Talk of changing captain or coach is ludicrous.

Peakfan said...

Short, to the point and 100% right Tim!