Monday, 31 March 2014

Derbyshire v Durham UCCE - preview

Moore, Godleman, Madsen, Chanderpaul, Hughes, Durston, Johnson, Wainwright, Clare, Palladino, Groenewald, Footitt, Turner.

That's the squad for the first 'proper' match under Graeme Welch and it won't be far away - injuries permitting - from that for the championship opener against Leicestershire next weekend.

The top six is pretty much what most people expected and it would be hard to argue against it. Graeme Welch's assertion that Durston will be an asset at number six to bat with the tail is a fair one, especially when one considers his erstwhile ability at facing the new ball. Should those above him fire as we might hope, the sight of him striding to the crease at 300-4 will not be a source of comfort to opposition bowlers.

There's a classic right/left combination in the opening pair and a nice 'feel' to a top six that contains three of each. If nothing else, it will keep opposition bowlers having to work on their lines.

Likewise, at this stage you could perm any four from five quality seamers, there being a strong possibility that David Wainwright may miss out on early season tracks. Whether that is the case depends on how fit Chesney Hughes really is for bowling, though there's no doubt that having a couple of useful spinners among his batsmen gives Welch more flexibility in his bowling line up.

I suppose the biggest talking point among supporters will be in the choice of wicket-keeper. Both Tom Poynton and Richard Johnson are very good players, as well as being good friends. There is little between them in their glove work (though Poynton kept beautifully last year) but Johnson is perhaps the more polished and dependable batsman at this stage.

It's a tough call for Welch and tougher for the man omitted. Welch will know Johnson from his time at Edgbaston, but will have watched both men pre-season and no doubt taken the counsel of Simon Guy as wicket-keeping coach. There's always the possibility that Poynton is still in the frame for the game at Leicester and Johnson is playing in this one to keep his hand(s) in, but I have every confidence that whoever plays will serve us well.

I think that it is a strong-looking side and accounts for the optimistic feeling among supporters, as evidenced by the early votes in the poll on the left.

Another strong performance will send us into the real stuff in good heart and I look forward to reporting on it over the next few days.

Finally tonight, there's an interesting interview with Ian Blackwell over on Cricinfo. What caught my eye was the following paragraph:

It sounds a bit of a cliché but you've just got to enjoy it. It comes to a stage as a professional that you stop enjoying it because it's your job. Even in exhibition games it's hard, because people think you're just going to go out there and smack a load of sixes. In pro cricket you're getting paid, you have to perform and you're nervous. Depending on what type of character you are, it can find frailties in you. You have to remember why you got into the game during those times, and that is to enjoy it. That's a key thing I try to instil in the youngsters when I'm coaching. 

Throughout this season, as supporters, we must all remember this. Players will go in and out of form, not through choice but human frailty. They don't do it on purpose, but it happens and, like any other career, it carries pressures with it. Sometimes the opposition are too strong; on other occasions lady luck deserts you, just when you need her most.

But I hope our lads enjoy their season, because if they do, we probably will too. The start of another summer of cricket is always exciting.

This could be a special one for Derbyshire fans, but we'll be rooting for them either way.


Anonymous said...

Graeme Welch will have a fair idea of what Johnson can offer from their Warwickshire days. That said, the decision of picking the gloveman was probably a pretty close affair.

The squad has an experienced look about it, which is perhaps where we should expect the coach to start the season, so long as the guys have shown form, which has been the case.

I would agree that Durston could be well suited to the number six position and may offer useful contrast if we do opt for four seamers. I would agree that this could well be the choice at this stage in the year.


Peakfan said...

Nice to hear from you Master Villain and I agree - the side looks pretty solid right now!