I have had a seriously busy electronic postbag today, with comments regarding the signing of Luke Fletcher being the main topic of discussion.
It has met with pretty much universal acclaim, with the only negatives to question the effect it has on the development of Ben Cotton, Tom Taylor, Greg Cork, Will Davis and Harry White. My response is that the effect can only be a positive one. All of those lads will get first team opportunities this summer, but it will be a gradual introduction to the side as their form and fitness permits.
None of the seam attack will play every game this season, as it is impossible to expect them to do so. The demands of four-day, fifty overs and twenty overs cricket are considerable and a rotation policy is the way to success.
So too, certainly in the championship, is getting off to a good start. I think most supporters accept that our batting looks stronger than it has for several years and the addition of Fletcher, a bowler with considerable top tier experience, gives us a strong first-choice, early season seam attack. Like Andy Carter, Fletcher is a big, aggressive bowler who will give no quarter on the pitch and the two of them, with the ever-reliable Tony Palladino, make up a very experienced and skilled trio. One that can take wickets and one that can win games.
The young lads named above can learn from these players, watching them, talking to them and playing alongside them. Graeme Welch knows seam bowling and when he says that Fletcher is a bowler he has long admired, you listen. 200 top division wickets at an average well under thirty argue his case well, yet he is still around eighth choice at Trent Bridge.
My hope is that Luke enjoys his stay so much that he considers a move across the East Midlands in due course. He is contracted until the end of 2017, but who knows? At 27, I would far prefer to be playing first team cricket somewhere than being a bit-part player with only occasional days in the sun.
Earlier today I read a piece by Chris Adams in a Sussex newspaper in which he says that experience is crucial in the quest for trophies. He is absolutely right. While Derbyshire are doing the right thing in developing their own youngsters, they will flourish better and more quickly in an environment where youthful naivety and errors can be tolerated and overcome.
As our county season is almost upon us, there is a nice blend to the side. Whether it results in more victories is something that only time will tell, but we are in a good position, with players of quality and experience throughout the eleven. Over and above that, there are talented youngsters chafing at the bit for opportunity. It augurs well.
If they play to potential, it will be an entertaining summer.