I am assuming that there are a few pointers in Graeme Welch's first squad of the summer in the three-day game against Durham MCCU at the 3aaa County Ground (weather permitting...)
Billy Godleman (Captain)
With Hamish Rutherford only just arrived in the country, it would appear that Ben Slater and Chesney Hughes have a battle to claim the other opening slot alongside the new red-ball skipper, Billy Godleman. I would expect Rutherford to slot in at number three, giving Derbyshire an 'engine room' of talent and experience for the first time in many summers.
Wes Durston's all-round capabilities earn him a go at number six, with Shiv Thakor getting the nod over Alex Hughes for this one. Similarly, Tom Poynton's good pre-season form has earned him the gloves, with the seam bowling then a case of perming any three from five. I can't attempt to second guess Welch on this one. On the one hand he could give his two senior bowlers, Tony Palladino and Andy Carter, a chance to find early rhythm, or he could play his three younger options to see who earns the right to partner them when the season proper starts next weekend down at Bristol.
It is a good side and the strength of the squad this year is in the players who haven't made the cut this time.
There is always so much excitement at the start of a season and, in my 48th summer as a Derbyshire supporter it shows no sign of palling. I will be down for most of the first home game, against Glamorgan and look forward to seeing the new-look ground and all the winter work.
County cricket is back - and I'm lovin' it!