Monday, 3 February 2014

Changes well received...

Plenty of e-mails for me tonight and not a single dissenting voice among them.

Yes, the changes in the club's coaching set up make eminent sense to just about everyone, for reasons that I documented this morning. I would, however, take issue with a couple of comments I have seen or received.

'Anon' - it's almost always 'Anon' - says that there's too many coaches. An assertion to which my response is an even more brief 'How'?

Players can really only improve from regular and sustained access to good coaching and the qualifications of the people that we have brought in speak for themselves. Level four coaching is not something tackled nor achieved by the faint-hearted and you have to have serious ability to reach that level. While the people who have come in will be an asset to the Madsens, Groenewalds, Palladinos and Moores of the staff, the benefits for younger players is incalculable.

I'm thinking of young batsmen like Borrington, Elstone, Hughes (both of them) and Slater. Bowlers like Knight, Burgoyne, Cotton, Marsden, Cork, Taylor and Higginbottom. Young and developing wicket-keepers in Poynton, Johnson and Hosein. Their abilities should emerge at an accelerated rate with people able to devote more time to them and their needs. All are fine players, as you have to be to make the staff of a first-class county, but to kick on to the next level - to their becoming county stalwarts and regulars - they need a support network in place to hone their game and their physical and mental readiness for the most demanding of levels.

That's how I see first-class cricket. Each level of the game brings its demands, but to become an establised first-class player puts you in the top 2-3% of those playing. Of course there's international cricket to follow, but you go into that with the awareness that you have a game that can handle most of what is thrown at you.

I don't see there ever being a scenario where the coaches are sitting around with the Racing Post, waiting on someone to approach them for advice on their game. Rather they will be taking sessions, watching local cricketers, getting involved and ensuring that there is as seamless a link between local and club cricket at all levels as is possible.

Supremo Welch will call the shots, pull the strings and ensure that the needs of players are met and they cross the line to play in the best condition they have ever known, mentally and physically. It is all incredibly exciting from a fan's perspective, so I can only imagine how it will feel from the playing perspective.

That all this has happened at little more cost to the club than the old set up is extraordinary. Mr Grant and the board deserve every plaudit for their vision and enterprise in including the Derbyshire Cricket Board in discussions. The club for a long time was stymied by the conflicting needs of clubs against county. Now, they're singing from the same hymn sheet and it is great to see.

The other near-negative comment was from the Derby Telegraph, where someone said that he hoped there was money left for players. Really? Does the person not look at the staff, as I do, and think it is one of the most encouraging we've had in years?

We've got one of the best batsmen in the world, together with a captain who was one of the most prolific in the country last year. We've also signed a man who was very close to England honours at one point -  and is still a very good player - to open the batting. We've a clutch of talented young batsmen, any one of who could kick on to something special this year, together with two excellent wicket-keepers.

Then there's arguably the strongest seam attack in the division this summer. Be assured that few sides will fancy facing them on a helpful track, while we have three spinners with justifiable grounds for staking a claim for a regular place.

That's before we consider the Academy talent, where the seam bowling appears especially strong. Yes, it would be nice to sign Kallis on a Kolpak, but realistically, aside from cover for Chanderpaul when he is on international duty and maybe (only maybe) a T20 specialist, I don't think we need anything else.

Bring them on, let them loose, reap the rewards. That has to be the way from now on. The Derbyshire way.

I think we're on the verge of something special and there's a lot of people in the world of cricket looking at us tonight with widened eyes.

And more than a little envy...


Alan said...

Hi PF. You will no doubt remember that I am a long-time admirer of Mr. Loyalty, Steven Stubbings, I am delighted therefore to see that his admirable work with the 2nds last year has been recognised with a well-deserved place in Derbyshire's new coaching set-up.

I know that he has been involved with coaching at various levels for awhile, but I must admit I don't know about his ECB qualifications.

Every morning I logged-on for news, as much as anything else I really hoped that Stubbo would still be involved. So well done all round Mr. Grant & Graeme Welch, our County may well surprise a few in the coming season.

And if Stubbo reads this, 'Good on ya mate!'

Marc said...

I can see no reason not to embrace the new structure and also those who now find themselves working within it. The mix seems to be a sensible one,with a number of people having previous experience at the club.

The disappointment of last season seems to have been replaced by an air of optimism in general and a sense of goodwill toward those who have instigated the recent changes. Will it work in practice,who knows?. I,m sure we all hope it does and it leads to a period where Derbyshire can become a genuine force in all forms of the game.

The haphazard and at times illogical thinking which was such a feature of last season should now be replaced by clear planning,tactical sanity and consistency of team selection. That in itself will be a major step forward.

All this has to be given a little time to work. To achieve all our objectives in one season is unrealistic and though expectations among supporters will be high,we have to maintain a sense of realism. However,I have little doubt we will see significant progress and that should be good enough to satisfy all but the most churlish.

creweblade said...

id agree it is positive but the proof will be in the eating - we need to see some tangible progress on the field in all competitions next season especially the one dayers - coaches are and should be judged by results on the field