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.