Saturday, 27 July 2013

Post-match blues

By any standards, that was an awful effort last night.

When the best you can find to say about a batting display is that the Twitter feed from Tony Palladino was very good, you know that you've had a stinker.

It's funny, despite the fact that I still maintain that chasing a total offers a better chance of success than setting one, oblivious to the capabilities of the other team, it goes out of the window when any chase is approached in much the same manner as adopted by the Keystone Cops, perhaps accompanied by Sergeant Jones of Dads Army shouting "Don't Panic!" at the top of his voice.

We simply have to get better and that will doubtless be something occupying the thoughts of Chris Grant and the Derbyshire board in coming months. Maybe there is no quick solution, but whether it is in different players coming in or the coaching setup being tweaked, we cannot afford many nights like that.

The marketing team work wonders in attracting people along to the ground to witness exciting cricket. Three straight wins at the start of the campaign did the same. The remarkable win at Trent Bridge on Monday would have convinced a number of people that there was no better place to spend a Friday evening than the County Ground.

Then we bat like that.

No, I can't and won't defend it and when a team is slaughtered (there is no more apposite word) by a very average Leicestershire side, then supporters have a right to be disappointed and angry.

Yet there is no quick fix. Players we were lauding twelve months ago have not become bad players in that time. Some have found their comfort level exceeded, others have, in unison, hit the bad season experienced by most at some time. Yet no one must lose sight of the fact that we cannot simply, as one correspondent suggests, 'sack them all' except for three. As an example of knee-jerkery (just invented that one...) it's high on the all-time list...

Contracts are contracts and even though it often seems that they offer security to the player alone, rather than the club when an individual and his agent start getting twitchy, the club cannot rip up the remaining deals of 12 players and wave them off. It doesn't work like that and nor should it, or we would be back in the dark ages. Aside from falling foul of legislation, it would probably ensure that no one else wanted to play for you, ever.

The coaching staff will work over the winter to get the careers of some players back on track and continue the development of others whose encouraging displays have been somewhat overlooked in those kneejerk, but understandable reactions of supporters to last night.There is a massive interest and depth of passion about Derbyshire cricket, as evidenced by this blog setting a new record for hits in the current month, even with four days to go. These people care and they want to see a successful club. Three of them got in touch from overseas, having followed the action from afar.

No one cares more than Chris Grant, who faces a busy winter. He, more than anyone, knows what needs to be done, what money we have and how we can feasibly improve within budgetary constraints. I am sure that Mr Grant will look back on 2012 as a delightful honeymoon period, when all was sweetness and light after the previous year, when the mid-season departure of John Morris gave him a stern introduction to Derbyshire cricket. 2013 will not carry the same memories, but perhaps has given him an even greater appreciation of the size of the challenge.

Keep the faith people. Last night didn't make us a disaster, any more than last year made us the best team in the world. I get as frustrated by the team's inconsistency as you all do and I wish, to use football parlance, that there was a route one to success.

But there isn't. We must continue to be patient and give the boys our backing. Whatever you may think in the aftermath of a poor display, they are working hard and they are trying their best.

It's just that on occasion the best is a long way from good enough and needs to get better.


creweblade said...

peakfan - i agree with much you say but what really really concerns me is the complete lack of statement or apology (other than allegedly from our chairman when giving out sandwiches!) from our team management after last night's disgraceful performance. it boarded on 'offering money back' status it was so poor and in front of such a good crowd too - shameful.

Peakfan said...

I think that will come Creweblade but needs to be thought through as to what is said and who says it. There's a game to play tomorrow first.

notoveryet said...

I kept quiet last night, despite having been wasted my Friday night with a trip down the A52 to see if we could sustain the momentum from Tuesday night. Others who were there have said plenty about the performance and I wouldn't disagree with any of it. I was very struck by the disgust at what they saw among the crowd, however, and I guess many won't go back in a hurry regardless of the marketing.

It's "notoveryet" but it will be soon unless we beat Durham by a huge margin, and Glamorgan and Warwickshire both lose. An example of what is required is that if both Glamorgan and Warwickshire lose by one run, we need to score 224 and dismiss Durham for 148... or score 175 and dismiss Durham for 100... or 1001 other permutations. Of course, we can't forget the YB40 (except we all have) but things don't look great there either.

Miracles might happen, but as someone else commented, I'm not sure we deserve to succeed in anything as long as performances like last night's are happening.

Someone else commented on spin from the club, and while his comment was misunderstood, I was taken by last night's Twitter communications from the club - "the dressing room is hurting" - and Peter Burgoyne - "this is the best we've done in this competition". To the club, I'd say we're not interested in how much the players are hurting (unless it's from **rses being kicked up and down the dressing room) but what they are going to do now to make sure that they never hurt their supporters like this again. To Burgoyne, I'd say that he should stay off Twitter until his knowledge of Derbyshire's history and his sensitivity matches his bowling. Both comments were crass and reflect the extent to which the club's communications all year have not remotely matched the realities we've all seen on the field.

One of the things that struck me last night was how little leadership I saw. I couldn't see any particular plan being executed by the batsmen. I could have understood being bowled out for 70 in 10 overs chasing a really big target, but after the first over, we spent 13 overs to score 58 for 10 wickets. I couldn't work out at any stage what the sense of direction was after the first couple of wickets went. At two wickets down, I would have been thinking that there were plenty of overs left against a moderate attack, so need to take risks. At 6down with little experience in the tail, I'd have been thinking that a win was beyond us but a cautious 100 off 20 overs would at least reduce the run rate we needed to achieve in the last game. Whatever the tactics, there needed to be a clear approach, but it looked as if players were coming out with no clear sense of what they were trying to achieve. Defensive blocks were followed by a booming drive, or an attempted pull was followed by several blocks, none of them particularly related to the quality of the bowling.

The same lack of purpose was clear in the handling of Turner. I've made my views clear about the nature of his game but increasingly desperate impersonation of a first class cricketer, but who picks him, and who tells him to bowl half-way down the pitch (or alternatively tells him not to)?

There's a rudderlessness about our cricket and has been all season. This might explain the wild inconsistencies we can all see, because it's down to talented individuals getting it right on the night (as on Tuesday), but when they don't, there's no coherent planning that lets them do it as a team. I can't blame Krikken and I can't blame Madsen, because I have no real sense of who does what, but taking your point that so many players can't all have become bad at once, the key question has to be about leadership, preparation and planning.

notoveryet said...

Second post, but different subject - Ross Whiteley. I take your point about the costs of keeping a player who doesn't want to be here and isn't performing well enough to get into the team (though he seems to have found some form as soon as plays for Worcs). However, it also has to be looked at from the point of view of the investment we've also made in him and others. His development has cost us over a number of years during most of which time we've had very little reward. That is all wasted money, and I'll guess that it might have cost us at least as much as the remainder of his contract would have done. We have a similar investment in a large number of others, who now have lengthy and presumably expensive contracts. The ease with which Whiteley seems to have extricated himself from his contract means that an example has been set for others we have invested in and rewarded who, for whatever reasons, decide that they want to move.

The club's long-term strategy is (quite rightly) based on investing in its own young talent, and hoping that the loyalty they feel to their local club that has supported their development and rewarded it will reduce the risk of them being tempted elsewhere for more money or greater glory. Whiteley's decision suggests that for him at least, the carrots that have been given weren't enough, and the risk that the same is true for others might have been reduced if they had seen a bit of stick being applied. Holding him to his contract might have cost us in the short-term but would have made a clear statement that would have supported the overall strategy.

Final word on Whiteley. Good to see him thanking the "boys" for the good times. Not a word though about the club, the chairman or the supporters who have tolerated his years of failure and celebrated his short period of making useful contributions. Perhaps shows a second-rate man as well as a second-rate cricketer.

Anonymous said...

I've looked at Burgoyne's tweets and can see absolutely nothing wrong with them.

He's a 19 year old lad. I'd suggest twitter may not be good for those of hyper sensitivities or self importance....#blowngasket#ott#


Mark said...

I just can't get my head around how Turner can get a second over, let alone a staggering third when his first has been pathetic. I'd love to see his statistics from these T20 matches, they would make for very embarrassing reading. I bet he starts again against Durham though, and bowls his 3 overs again probably for another 30 plus runs. Simply not good enough.

Marc said...

Difficult to disagree with some well chosen comments,Notoveryet. Something which has struck me since Krikken took over has been the rather curious way in which some individuals have been handled.

A couple of years back we had the situation where Hughes was picked match after match despite a string of failures. That was followed by the complete opposite last season,when the guy couldn,t get a game for love nor money,even though the batting was brittle and unreliable.

Redfern fits into a slightly different category and has largely been persisted with,despite his form going from bad to worse in all forms of the game. Whiteley had a stinker of a season last year and yet held his place throughout. When it comes to this season he is initially left out after the first game and then it,s as if he no longer exists. I know he,s been injured for some of the time,but not all of it. Have we really done ourselves any favours by ignoring him for the one day games and playing people like Borrington,Godleman and Redfern instead?.

Godleman spends nine matches in the team and has one half century to show for it. Durston has played every game he has been fit and has still to amass 300 runs for the season. It,s very rare for a player to re-discover form without a break from the first team. I,m not suggesting we drop someone after a couple of failures,though Slater will point to that having happened to him,but surely this "all or nothing" selection policy needs to be looked at.

Even though i,ve long since given up on him,I have to include Borrington in this as he too has been forgotton,save for a few one day matches,a format to which he is totally unsuited. I could cite other examples to illustrate the selection process needs an overhaul and has to become more consistent.

We have to draw a better balance as to when a player should or shouldn,t be selected,based on how they actually perform. In a nutshell,players who are obviously bereft of form are kept in the team for too long and when they are finally withdrawn from active service,they are left out for too long.

Peakfan said...

Very good comments gents and I agree Marc. The irony of Borrington, in particular, is that he was picked for the YB40, which many would suggest not his game, then did as well as most, but was omitted from the championship side.
Nice to see measured, thoughtful input gentlemen. At the end of the day, we all want the same thing, a successful side.

Mark said...

Course we do Peakfan, but this squad is so weak it's frightening. How many other counties would be interested in our players at present bar a few maybe. The likes of Godleman, Borrington, Turner, Footitt etc are just very average players, and are nowhere near Div 1 standards. Saying that we'll no doubt put on a masterclass against Durham today, just you watch.

Anonymous said...

Wishful mark.

No masterclass just a heavy defeat.