Friday, 22 August 2014

Something for the weekend

There's such a feel-good factor around at present that you would swear Christmas was coming...

Such is the difference that a win makes, yet the thing that I see in the comments on the blog and the emails I have received is that people understand and are buying in to what is happening at Derbyshire.

Don't get me wrong. I'll not pretend that we're now a great side, nor that we're about to win the Royal London One-Day Cup. It would be truly astonishing if we did, but Tuesday's game against a Nottinghamshire side that probably costs three times the salaries of ours will test us to the limit. The chances are we're in for a rude awakening, but at the end of the day, it is still eleven versus eleven. The thinking money will naturally be on Nottinghamshire, but we have something going for us that they don't seem to have in such abundance.

A couple of weeks ago I watched a very dispirited-looking Trent Bridge outfit fail to defend a large total against Hampshire and the body language of the players was telling as the game turned against them. Heads went down, balls weren't chased and there was a lot of staring and finger-pointing as the southern county hunted them down in style.

What I liked about Derbyshire last night was the chirpiness, the vibe, the team spirit, the celebrations. It was Musketeer-like, all for one and one for all and the coaching staff and captain are to be commended for getting the team to that state after all that has gone on this year. It was a Derbyshire against the world mentality and a delight to see.

Whether we lose on Tuesday or not and irrespective of the disappointing results of early summer, I feel that this will be seen as when it all began. There was a false dawn in 2012, but this year has seen the emergence of a group of young players who will likely be the nucleus of our side for years to come.

Slater, Hughes, Elstone, Taylor, Cotton, Cork, Knight, Hosein - in different ways and at different times they have shown their potential and worth this summer, while an experienced nucleus of Madsen, Durston, Footitt and Palladino have, as the summer has progressed, produced the figures one expects from senior professionals.

It is appropriate to acknowledge the efforts of the coaching staff in their development and also in the re-emergence of the likes of Billy Godleman and Wes Durston. Earlier in the season they couldn't buy a run, yet both have obviously worked at their game and look like the players that their reputations suggested.

There are obvious weaknesses - we're still overly reliant on the 'big four' and are not getting the input from the overseas role that we need, to name but two - but the team spirit and collaborative approach has done wonders in getting us to the quarter finals from a starting position of minus two points.

It was interesting to read this morning in the Telegraph that Derbyshire may look to sign an Australian batsman who doesn't make the Ashes tour for next year's overseas role. It could just be press talk, but there are plenty of fine players in that country and not all of them can make the tour party. I'd certainly not say no to Phil Hughes, one on the periphery of the national squad but whose averages across different formats would make him an asset. Mind you, successive double centuries against South Africa A in recent weeks have pushed his case once more...

We're moving in the right direction and while difficult decisions have had to be made, Graeme Welch has shown himself up to making them.

I'm already looking forward to next year and this one isn't done yet by some distance...


Anonymous said...

Hi Peakfan

That would be my shout if Phil Hughes was available, also bear in mind that he doesn't play IPL cricket. As you have mentioned he is good in all formats of the game.

Do you know what SA itinerary is next year?.


Jeff said...


Interesting if we have got Pujara, would this be at the expense of Marcus North and would he be available for Tuesday?

I'm not really in favour of counties signing players at the end of the season - I believe that there should be a deadline of July 31st, once past that date counties would have to make do -.

As regards Thaikor and Buck, it will be interesting if we got one or both and be a indicator to the rest of Div 2 as to our ambition in the short term. One aspect of signing players for Derbyshire is that I have always believed we can offer a genuine chance of first eleven cricket and not just be part of a squad.

Regarding Tuesday, it would be interesting to see if Notts have Hales and/or Gurney available and how they organise themselves if they don't and also evens up the contest a little. Watching them limp over the line against Warwickshire this week with the batting line up they have gives me some hope that we can get a win.

As an aside, the two teams have met in Quarter Finals before - in the Natwest Trophy in 1981 and 1987, both at Derby - with the winner going on to win the final.

Keep the faith!!!