Friday, 30 September 2016
Barnett announced as new Director of Cricket
After all, as I have mentioned a couple of times recently, for players to be getting contract offers and for Gary Wilson to be signed, someone within the club had to be making those decisions with an expectation of being there to see them through.
The new deal for Tony Palladino, with a coaching remit, appears to be a sign of things to come, while Wilson suggested that he wanted to help younger players to develop. It would appear that this is seen as the way forward and it is hard to fault as a concept.
Thinking about the game is a major part of things and surely an effect of this new process is for players to work and think that bit harder at their own game when helping young players. Setting an example, hopefully as a consequence, can only be good from a team perspective.
Barnett will report to Kevin Dean, as Cricket Advisory Director and there will be three coaches underneath him. One, a Development Coach, will be responsible for the Academy and Second Eleven (presumably with input from player/coaches), while for the first time the senior coaching role is split in two.
The First Eleven Support Coach will be responsible for the four-day and fifty-over teams, while the Twenty20 Coach role will be a three-month contract and the successful candidate will appoint the captain and his overseas players.
It is a bold move, with Derbyshire being the first county to appoint a T20 specialist coach. I can't fault them for that, although cynics will suggest that we had a 'revolutionary' idea before that never worked out. Perhaps not, but in the situation we find ourselves, it is good to see us trying something new, rather than going for the same old, same old. I can never fault original thought, whatever the outcome.
I'm unsure of who we are aiming for with a three-month contract coach, but logically we could attract the same coaches who find a niche in the IPL and Big Bash. Perhaps even a player-coach, happy to come here for a short period to broaden their experience and hopefully add something to their CV. Let's be honest, any coach who can get Derbyshire through to the knock out stage of T20 has got to be worth their weight in gold.
Talking of cynics, there will be those who suggest that the return of Kim Barnett may be a bad move, remembering the discord of some of his time at the county. I accept that, but would also suggest that it was one of the most successful periods in the club's history. Whatever you think of Kim Barnett - and many have formulated opinions despite never having met him - he IS a winner, both with Derbyshire and with Gloucestershire.
I wrote last week that I wasn't really fussed who became Derbyshire coach as long as he oversaw an improvement in the club's playing fortunes. This new structure would appear to me to divert more money from the coaching side to playing affairs, which can only be a good thing.
I also like today's assertion that we are 'shopping' in the experienced and proven side of the market this winter. While one or two, for example, disagreed with my comment that Nathan Buck was little better than we had, I stand by it. That he has 158 first-class wickets, for me, is neither here nor there. They have come over eight seasons in the first-class game, which rather puts things in a twenty wickets a year perspective. Like I said at the time, we HAVE to aim for better than bowlers who average around 40 runs per wicket, or we may as well not bother.
Which all makes for a rather exciting prospect. AJ Harris may well prove a good shout for the development role, but we are likely to have at least one new coach, as well as some new players of proven quality in the coming months.
It is, as an email to me stated today, going to help our young cricketers develop in exactly the right environment, one that will hopefully become a positive and winning one.
We'll see about that.
For now, as always, I welcome your comments.
Postscript - almost forgot to welcome our new physio, Fran Clarkson, to the club. Formerly of Worcestershire 2nd XI, she is a cricketer herself and will doubtless prove a worthy successor to James Pipe, who has gone over to the dark side - sorry, Nottinghamshire.
She's not the club's first lady physio, as many will remember Ann Brentnall, but I am sure that she is eminently qualified to so a fine job.
I wish her well - and hope that she's not TOO busy!
Post postscript - Kim Barnett has given up the presidency of the club - understandably - and I hope that the club takes the opportunity to revert to the old way of things and makes this honorary role that of a senior, surviving former player, which was always the way of things.
I understand the commercial rationale of appointing Geoff Miller and Kim Barnett in turn, but in so doing the club ignored an opportunity to honour some outstanding contributors to its history from earlier generations.
The claims of Harold Rhodes and Brian Jackson are strong, but I am happy to nail my colours to the mast and suggest that Edwin Smith, who made his county debut in 1951, should have a long contribution to the club, as both player and coach, formally recognised.