Monday, 28 April 2014

Worcestershire v Derbyshire day 2

It would be very easy, after another day in which Derbyshire's batsmen largely struggled on an awkward wicket, to start this blog with a moan about our batting.

Yes, it's brittle nature remains a concern, especially between five and seven in the order, but with two days gone there is very little between these two sides. Runs on the board are always worth more on such wickets and it must not be forgotten that the Worcester ground spends a fair part of each winter under water. Batsmen face  the early season tracks with considerable wariness and anyone who prospers on them can count themselves as quite a player.

At which point, step forward Wayne Madsen. The skipper - Captain Fantastic, if you will - scored just over half of the team's score and ensured, with support from Shiv Chanderpaul and a healthily wagging tail, that we posted a decent tally and importantly took time from the match.

With more rain forecast, on and off, over the next couple of days, one of these sides will need to do something special to force a win. The speed at which Worcestershire made their evening reply suggested that they will not be scoring at four an over tomorrow and leaving us a tricky last day against Saeed Ajmal, a fine bowler.

It could happen, but it's unlikely. I felt for Dan Hodgson today, making his county debut. He will have run through that innings plenty of times but never come up with a scenario where he was leg before, first ball. That came after the early season struggles of Chesney Hughes and Wes Durston continued. With the seconds playing tomorrow, there will be a few people with justifiable hopes of forcing their way into the senior side in the near future.

We're not alone in the batting struggles, of course. There are plenty of teams and high quality batsmen struggling at this stage of the summer, rusty techniques and bowler-friendly wickets conspiring to make their quest for form an elusive one at this stage. Anyone who saw the ball that nipped back a long way to bowl Stephen Moore will hopefully appreciate the thankless task of facing a new ball in such conditions.

Which all makes Wayne Madsen's innings today all the more special. There are very few batsmen on the county circuit you would rate more highly than the Derbyshire skipper and I can't think of any I'd want fighting in our corner when things are tough. Except for Shiv Chanderpaul, and we already have him...

In the form of last year - and this, based on his efforts so far - Madsen can rightly entertain hopes of an England call-up. His South African background will not go down well with some, of course, but if you're looking at the ten best England-qualified batsmen on the circuit, Madsen must surely be in there.

Quite what would happen to our batting should he get the call is another question, but for his efforts on and off the pitch in his time at Derbyshire, there is no one more worthy than the affable skipper. It will be interesting to see how England's Moeen Ali fares tomorrow, a decent benchmark of Madsen's talents and efforts.

Wonderful Wayne Madsen. Thanks to him, we're still in there and fighting.


Tim, Chesterfield said...

Do you think Madsen has a genuine chance of an England call-up? I'd be surprised if he's higher up than about 20th on any (probably non-existent) list of back up options. Partly as he plays for Derbyshire.

Gary said...

Superb effort from the skipper yet again rescuing a v grim situation with the lower order.
The problems with the middle order are starting to get worrying however. It was non existent last year and wasn't exactly our strong point in our league winning season and shows no signs of improving. Hughes hasnt scored a run in the championship since his massive score a year ago and Durston continues to struggle in the longer form. Add to this Godleman still failing to fire and the unfortunate loss of Poynton/Johnson and we have four positions not contributing for a long time now. We desperately need at least a couple of these to be sorted one way or the other or we can say goodbye to our chances of a promotion push.
Hopefully we can put some pressure on tomorrow as I don't fancy our chances against Ajmal in the second innings

Martin Edwards said...

Very fair comments, Peakfan, as usual. And I'm sure many will agree about the admirable Madsen. Another great innings. The unfortunate thing is that we have three batsmen of genuine talent in the top six who have not only struggled so far this season but also for almost all of last season. Their stats over that time make unhappy reading, as I'm sure they are all too well aware. I'm really hoping that the coaching team can now get the best out of them, and that their ability can be translated into sustained strong performance, rather than a flashy cameo here and there, as the time has come for them to start delivering.

Peakfan said...

I could see it Tim and tomorrow I will tell you why...

Marc said...

A somewhat modified weather outlook suggests there may not be too many interruptions over the final two days,though I still believe a positive outcome for either side remains unlikely. Although we will be batting during the final day,to all intents and purposes the pitch is only on it,s third day,when it should prove to be at something close to it,s best. A positive mindset will be required when facing Saeed again. If we allow him to dictate he will create problems.He bowls loose deliveries the same as anyone and these we must look to punish.

It was a fine innings from Madsen who has kept us in the game almost single handed. We are still worryingly reliant upon him,something which has to change very quickly. Let us hope we can dismantle Worcestershire for a similar score to our own.