Monday, 15 August 2016

Time for reflection

Yesterday I wrote that I wished we could fast forward to the end of the season. Quite honestly, I feel that more this year than any before it.

I think that there is a need to regroup and plan such as we haven't seen for some time, with a new- look side increasingly likely for another summer.

We haven't been helped by injuries of late, with most of our young seamers incapacitated in one way or another. Cotton, Davis, Taylor, Thakor - all would have gone into contention for yesterday's game without question.

The irony of Andy Carter bowling out Nottinghamshire in Hampshire colours yesterday was not lost, no less than seeing Luke Fletcher do the same thing when he returned to his old club from his stint at the 3aaa County Ground earlier in the summer. His departure left the club with little more than youngsters and the admirable workhorse that is Tony Palladino to work with, something that next year I hope will change.

I think that Cotton, Davis and Taylor will all, in time, be good county bowlers at the very least, but it was telling to hear Michael Johnson on the Olympics coverage say that sports stars don't really know their game and their bodies until 25 or 26. Jessica Ennis-Hill said the same thing and I know from many discussions with former and current players that it is the same with cricketers. Our 'problem' is that we have too many youngsters and we need more players of proven quality alongside them, to guide, support and take the pressure off.

Back up and assistance is needed for the seamers, just as it is for Matt Critchley and Callum Parkinson. While they will produce the occasional fine performance, it is unrealistic to expect them to regularly bowl out sides at 19 or 20, because players rarely do at that age. Likewise we simply have to bring in a top wicket-keeper/batsman. If we could bring in a player who could bat in the top six, it enables the coach to play an extra bowler if he chooses, or lengthen the batting.

I have no idea why 'Ches and Wes' are currently out of the side, but can only assume that it is for valid cricket reasons. Chesney started the summer well, but has started to creep back into old habits as the season has gone on with the usual detrimental effect on his average. He should be kicking on more, over a full season, and could be really special if he manages to do so.

Wes just seemed to be out of sorts to me this summer and no doubt discussions on his role next year will take place come season-end. As I have mentioned recently, if there was someone better out there, a 'junior Wes', that player would be under consideration. For what it is worth, as his four-day involvement is now minimal, I suspect that any offer to Wes for next summer might be for one-day cricket only. We'll see, but it has been a tough year for a fine player, beyond argument.

Neil Broom? He's had a tough year too, one that he probably didn't expect. Ask any 'new' overseas professional the toughest part of their role, though and they will tell you it is the weight of expectation, together with an amount of cricket, way in excess to anything they have played before. It has affected plenty before him and has done the same to Broom this year. Yet his pedigree is there on the statistical websites and I am sure that he will benefit from this year's exposure to the county game and return stronger in 2017. He will want to make amends and I think he will. The signs are there of improvement in recent weeks and he will have learned a lot this summer.

I don't think there are major issues behind the scenes, other than people hurting after the one-day disappointments, so don't, as one or two recent emails have suggested, see senior players throwing their toys from the pram. In talking to them, I still get a feel of enjoyment from the people we would all see as crucial to our future plans and am sure that the likes of Shiv Thakor, Billy Godleman and Ben Slater will be at the club another year and for more to come. So too will Wayne Madsen, whose benefit offer and recent contract suggest that he will see out his career at Derbyshire. Amen to that, I am sure you all say...

Having thought about it overnight, I don't see team selection being done by anyone other than John Sadler and Billy Godleman. Both are proud and strong men and, while they will get selection wrong on occasion (what coach doesn't?) they will do their best and are very much their own men. I know, from talking to him in the interview for my recent book, that Chris Grant works tirelessly off the pitch to improve matters, but leaves the on field matters firmly in the hands of the professionals. He will express an opinion, which is his right as chairman, but that will be all it is.

Which brings us, neatly, to Kim Barnett and his role. As a former player of great distinction, together with some coaching involvement in his native Staffordshire, Kim's counsel will undoubtedly have been sought and given. I am sure that he will have cast an eye over the current set up and told it like it is, when asked. If that leads to a better Derbyshire side, moving forward, I have no complaints and nor will anyone else. I don't think any of us can say that we have got it right as things stand, so an informed opinion is another to be thrown into the melting pot. The Advisory Board will be working very hard behind the scenes and I am sure that things will improve.

Indeed, I think that the winter months will be more exciting than the summer this year. There is a coaching role to discuss, presumably as a matter of urgency, then players to bring in. A lot have gone out of the door already and others may yet do so.

That yesterday was intensely disappointing is beyond dispute, yet the acid test will be in how the players and the club respond to such a day. A better effort over the next two days, a determination to do much better next season.

Watch this space.

Postscript: family Peakfan are off on their holidays today and we will be away until next weekend. I will check in when I can, subject to wifi availability, and will put up comments as soon as I am able.

Keep them coming, but as always, ensure there are no personal attacks and no 'rants'. Thanks!


notoveryet said...

I see you've been sent a new pair of rose-tinted spectacles overnight, Peakfan. Should be useful for your holidays, but those of us en route for the third day might have more use for blindfolds. Quite honestly, you could not have written this if you had seen the debacle of the last two days, summed up for me by the sight of Billy Godleman fielding at long on at both ends as a debutant number 10 battered our spinners. If as calm and astute captain as him was so addled to do something no amateur captain would do, it's no wonder the batting fell apart as it did. I can see a way out of this match, if the tail plays as it did against Leics, and the top order as it did against Glamorgan. If we can get the first innings past lunch, I suspect that Essex might not enforce the follow on anyway. Whether there is the fight left in this team to do it again, I doubt, but we'll see. What we cannot do, however, is accept bland assurances of better things to come. We've had 3 years of this, and while most of last night's comments were over the top, the chairman and the advisory board cannot simply be trusted to get on the field decisions right any more, and have to explain how it's going to improve. There's a lot of good things being done at Derby off the field, and a talented core of players on it, which are being betrayed by poor management and decision-making about the cricket side. I'll be quite clear that I anticipate that at least two of our ambitious younger players will be looking to leave this year because they recognise that their careers are going to be damaged by association with failure, and that some of those we want to bring in will turn us down for the same reason. If I'm right, we can forget rose tinted spectacles, and get the firing squad to go with the blindfold.

Rev Keith Bamford said...

A sad and disappointing end to a day when we had played quite well for much of the time. The demise of Madsen & Broom to consecutive deliveries destroyed the gains made through some positive and sensible batting by others.

Not looking good for tomorrow, and it is hard to look ahead to the rest of the season with much optimism. Let's hope the lads prove me wrong!

Rev Keith

Peakfan said...

I think you are vety wrong on a lot of this notoveryet and will explain why when I have more time, hopefully tomorrow.

Mark said...

Agree Peakfan about retaining Godleman, but apart from Mads and Shiv and the youngsters, the rest can go.