Sunday, 10 January 2016

Another century for Broom as Otago win

An unbeaten 124 from Neil Broom for Otago Volts overnight steered them to a three-run win in a gripping game against Northern Districts.

Broom's runs, made from 128 balls and containing nine fours and a six, underpinned a total of 298-6, in what Cricinfo strangely refer to as a 'low-scoring thriller'. Call me old-fashioned, but if I had seen the best part of six hundred runs in a day's cricket, I wouldn't consider myself as having been short-changed on the batting front...

Broom has been in good form all winter, while form has been a little more elusive for Hamish Rutherford. Perhaps the captaincy weighs heavy upon him, but as any cricketer knows, good and bad form can begin and end with the next innings. Rutherford is simply too good a player to remain out of sorts for too long. I am sure that both he and Broom will underpin a stronger Derbyshire batting line-up next summer.

Billy Godleman looked like he had 'arrived' last summer, while the name of Wayne Madsen on a team sheet almost guarantees runs. Both Ben Slater and Chesney Hughes will benefit from the competition that the other brings to the opening berth, while similar competition will ensure that Alex Hughes and Shiv Thakor work hard at their games.

Hughes showed signs, in an injury-hit summer, of becoming close to what we need in the middle-order. A maiden century will have lent encouragement and there were sufficient one-day cameos to suggest he could be the real deal. He added a little 'oomph' to his bowling and has it in him to become a genuine all-rounder.

Yet so too does Thakor. We didn't see the best of the youngster last year, again partly through injury. He arrived as a batsman who bowled, yet finished the season almost the reverse. His batting never really came to the fore, but his bowling was a standout in the T20 and, given his age, will only improve.

With such talent and competition within the squad, expectation should be higher that we can post good totals for our attack to play with. While the loss of Mark Footitt is not inconsiderable, never underestimate player development, nor the impact it will have on the team's fortunes.

With that, I say farewell for another day.

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