Sunday, 3 July 2016

28 days...

You know, this is the first season since I started this blog when we have got into July without recurring cries of 'wholesale changes at the end of the season' being heard.

Perhaps, at last, people can genuinely see the talent starting to emerge from the club's work with the Academy and a number of young players are making impressive progress. Not definitive, at this stage, as that's a long way off for some of the younger ones, but their have been impressive strides as the season has progressed.

The past week has seen several clubs announce that they have served 28 days notice on the current employers of some top cricketers that they want their services next season.

Varun Chopra is attracting interest and is often outside the Warwickshire eleven, Durham may not be able to afford Mark Wood, Scott Borthwick and Mark Stoneman, Northamptonshire could lose Josh Cobb, Olly Stone and Ben Duckett. Nottinghamshire are being linked with most of them...sigh.

Derbyshire? Very shrewdly, we extended the deals on the players seen as key to our futures and although the end of the summer will see inevitable departures, it is more likely to be younger players who are deemed to be just short of the desired standard.

As far as recruitment goes, there is a balancing act between bringing in a player of quality and affording opportunity to young talent. For example, a notional four-day side next season could quite easily line up, with current batting averages in brackets:

Godleman (50)
Slater (39)
Hughes (60)
Madsen (63)
Broom (32)
Thakor (87)

In selecting that side, you are omitting some good young players - most notably Matt Critchley and Tom Taylor, as well as experienced professionals like Andy Carter, Tom Poynton and Wes Durston. Nor is there an overseas player, something Durham has struggled to afford for years.

For any and every player we bring in, one of those above doesn't get a game and they need to be markedly better AND affordable for it to be justified. You might say that Neil Broom's stat make him the most vulnerable, but a man with his skills has to come good and it has shown in fits and starts. You'll not really improve on that batting line up, even it misfires, as they all do, on occasion..

In the bowling, Ben Cotton and Will Davis have both impressed and need to be playing more, while Alex Hughes is too good a player to be only in the one-day stuff long term. If John Sadler can tell Tom Knight to just bowl as he used to, we'd have another damn good one-day option as an all-rounder too. The likes of Elstone, Cork and Hemmings are a little further back in the queue, but have potential.

In short, I don't think we will see - nor do we need - massive changes. A quality bowler, maybe as overseas, possibly a look at wicket-keepers and see if there's an option out there who might offer more runs in the short term, perhaps a young batsman - maybe one of those we have had on trial.

I'd be surprised at more, from both a budgetary and opportunities perspective.

In itself, that is a major shift from previous years and is good to see.

As always, I welcome your thoughts.

Postscript  I meant to express my disappointment earlier in the week at Tom Taylor's season-ending stress fracture to the back. It has been a funny old summer for a talented cricketer, but at 21 he has plenty of years ahead of him.

I am sure he will return next summer, raring to go and am equally sure that you will join me in wishing him well.


Anonymous said...

It'll be interesting to see how we go next year with our overseas player. We have struggled with our bowling and I think we do need someone in the Clint McKay mould who has done really well at Leicestershire.

As for the wicket-keeping situation it'll be interesting to see what we do. Harvey Hosein has another year on his contract left and Poynton's contract is up. Do we keep Poynton or do we look elsewhere? One player who has hasn't much game time but with a good record is Craig Cachopa of Sussex. Possibly worth a shout?


Gary said...

While i do agree with your post the encouraging signs at the club. I have a view that the encouraging side more in one day format. I feel as team we are more balance in one day format because players like Ben Cotton and Alex hughes contribute alot more with ball and have impact. I see if we looking at same balance in Championship we maybe about 2 years away if players like Hughes, Cotton, Davis and Crichley.

I am in favour keeping hamish as overseas in one day formats but would suggest shared role with exprience overseas bowler who could help develop they younger talent in 4 day format.

Major changes aren't needed but question is can we as team be expected to do well in all formats. I don't think this era of cricket and how money plays huges part in todays game. What team apart from Test team have been competive in all formats? I personally think Derbyshire got ability to be a top one day team. I think next year we could even reach semi finals 20/20 or be in later stage one day cup.

Roger said...

Peakfan - whilst your confidence and belief in the current team is to be admired, I think too often you overstate on here the quality of our team.

Batting wise I agree, it's been a significant improvement with some of the longer stay players coming into form (Godleman, Thakor, C Hughes) but the bowling has been poor. In 9 Championship games, out of 180 wickets required, we have taken 93. Granted the weather has been poor and games truncated, plus our batting means we have been in the field less, but you don't win any County game without taking 20 wickets. For me the bowling attack isn't good enough.

I'm not saying there are a plethora of talented bowlers out there we could sign, or indeed have the money for it, but somehow if we want to improve that 5-10% in all forms of the game, some bowlers who can provide the business now are needed. We have badly missed Footitt, and unfortunately we are a stepping stone for quality bowlers due to the finances (Groenewald, Wagg, etc) but we need to try and address this.

I'm not a cricket scout and in depth knowledge isn't something I possess but if there are Kolpak players out there I would suggest we look at this option. I'd also consider taking Rutherford out (no denying him and Broom have disappointed to date) and using the overseas role in the 4-day game to a strike bowler.

I understand we are a small county on a small budget but that doesn't mean we should accept our position. We have shown before we can compete in div 2 and it's going to get tougher in the proceeding years. I for one hope whoever is in charge can try and address the bowling attack issue in the off season.

Peakfan said...

Yes, agreed we are a better one-day than four-day side. If there was a good Kolpak out there - especially a Langeveldt - it would be of huge value, but we need to factor in continued improvement from Cotton, Davis and Taylor. It might take them a couple of years yet, but they won't improve by playing second team while hired hands take their place.

IF we get someone really good who was keen to spend time in Derbyshire, then bring it on, but I don't want a South African to come in and average 35 a wicket instead of a local lad averaging 40. Besides anything, we get money for playing the local lad...