I've been really impressed with the standard of posts and messages on the blog and to me in recent days. It shows a good section of club support that thinks and cares, which is a nice combination and heartening to see.
Both Gary and Adam below my 'The Sun Has Got Its Hat On' post made pertinent comments as to how feasible it was for us to focus on all formats of the game and they are right. If we were affluent enough to carry one-day specialists, as some counties do, it would be quite nice indeed. Until the young seamers develop and we find a match-winning spinner from somewhere, I suspect competing in the four-day game will be tough.
It is all well and good scoring heavily, which we are capable of doing, but you have either to take twenty wickets or 'sucker' your opponents into setting you attainable targets. I remember in the Wright and Kirsten era, the last day run chases very quickly became upwards of 300, once it was evident that those two and others in a strong batting line up could make a mockery of most targets.
An email from Roy alerted me to both the youth of the contracted Derbyshire players, which I knew, but had good comparators with others. 'Young Will Beer' as referred to by Sky commentators, is a 'promising young spinner' at Sussex who is 27 and has taken just thirteen first-class wickets in nine matches since his debut in 2008. He only has 61 wickets in 81 one-day games, going for an average of seven-plus an over.
Compare that to Matt Critchley, who is taking wickets and going for under seven an over at the age of 19 and you get a sense of our sometimes being too harsh on young players. Ben Cotton is another, 'written off' by some, at 22, yet now with 21 one-day wickets and going for only five an over.
Alex Hughes is another whose gradual improvement has seen him elevated to the one-day captaincy and whose figures will only get better. Then there's Shiv Thakor, who I am convinced will one day play for England, and Ben Slater, whose averages are climbing all the time and suggests giving us a Derbyshire-reared batsman to head the batting line up for the first time in too long.
Others are further back, but we all can see signs of progress that are heartening. There will be setbacks and days when other teams or individuals are too strong, but keep in mind their ages and remember how Billy Godleman and Chesney Hughes 'cracked' the county game at 25 or 26, which the others are all way short of at this stage.
Going into a big weekend, I'm heartened by that and by the standard of those comments. Keep them coming, keep in mind the youth of the squad and let's enjoy the ride!