Thursday, 3 March 2016

Madsen contract caps fantastic week for Derbyshire supporters

Wayne Madsen has signed a new three-year deal at the county, keeping him at the club until the end of 2019, at this stage.

It is fantastic news, because the man is class.

He is class as a batsman, equally so as a man. Few more pleasant and approachable men have worn the club colours over its long history and for the past few seasons he has generally been the one beacon of consistency in a batting line-up not renowned for such a thing. To my dying day I will recall Edwin Smith's sage words and nodded approval as he watched with me as Wayne batted last summer. All the way forward, all the way back. Coaching manual stuff, as the club's spin bowling legend put it.

He times a ball exquisitely and has a good a range of shots, a batsman whose entrance to the crease usually suggests that the recent wicket is going to be the last for some time. There is an air of composure and confidence in his batting that I have seldom seen in Derbyshire players over the years and he plays quite beautifully once he feels that eyes, hands and feet are working as he wishes them to be.

As a captain he continues to learn and I only hope that this summer he is more willing to try a left-field option at times. When opposition batsmen get in, I would love to see Wayne bowl a couple himself, even if just to make the batsmen think. He is a tidy bowler and seldom gets collared, yet sightings with a ball in his hand are too rare for my taste. He is undemonstrative on the field, no Eddie Barlow, but shrewd and maintaining an air of composure, irrespective of the match situation.

The news comes at the end of a very good week and shows that when the club really want to, they will do what it takes to keep hold of a prize asset. Madsen will be coveted by clubs across the country, yet he has shown loyalty to the county who gave him an opportunity. His bullish words, about being able to achieve all he wants in the game as a Derbyshire player, are welcome and telling. As well as anyone, he knows the depth of talent at the club and the potential of that talent.

If we are to see silverware in the next four seasons - something I expect to do - then the  likelihood is that Cap'n Wayne will be lifting it above his head first.

Yet it is as a figurehead for the club that Wayne is seen at his best. With a friendly word and a smile for everyone, the club could not wish for a better ambassador.

Sign him up till he's forty next time, gentlemen.

He'll not let us down.

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