Saturday, 10 December 2016

Viljoen signing icing on the cake for Derbyshire

One thing came through loud and clear to me in Kim Barnett's interview following the signing of Hardus Viljoen.

That Will Davis is now in poll position to open the bowling with him.

Rightly so, because Davis did little wrong last year, running in hard, taking wickets and proving a handful to more than a few batsmen. At 20 he is an exciting talent and, as Matt Critchley will benefit from playing alongside Imran Tahir, so will Davis benefit from learning alongside a fellow fast bowler who has gone through the stage he is at right now.

Having Viljoen and Tony Palladino as mentors can only improve Davis, as it can Tom Taylor, Ben Cotton, Tom Milnes and Greg Cork. They have all encountered spells where their bodies have not been up to sustained spells of seam bowling and Viljoen has been there too. A quick Google search shows how he learned that eating the right things and preparing properly were keys to his development.

The fact that he is built like a tank is no bad thing either. Watching him run in towards you must make batsmen think of easier ways to earn a living and I'm reminded of the great Bill Shankly's quip on signing the huge Ron Yeats for his problem centre-half position.

'Come and take a walk around our new centre-half' said Shankly to the gathered media, confirming him as the colossus that proved a team catalyst.

So too could Viljoen be for Derbyshire. As long as he stays fit through a long and arduous county season, the county has a worthy successor to Mark Footitt for the next three summers at least. In that time he can only get better, as experience has shown him how to handle a range of wickets and he should enjoy early season tracks here in particular, if not the cold...

On a quick wicket he will be a handful, yet I watched him last weekend on a slow one for his franchise side and he was too much for a few of them. He bowled fast and full, yet the threat of the short ball was always there and the one he bowled had the batsman in trouble. He showed his intelligence in not overdoing it, aware that keeping the ball up was largely the way to success on such a track.

Of course, like all fast bowlers he will have days when the rhythm isn't right, the line is wayward and the ball gets hit. Every bowler has such days, such as batsmen have ones where they feel everything in the middle and others where the edges and toe are in use.

Last year, Derbyshire struggled to bowl sides out with an inexperienced attack. This summer, they will all have an extra year's experience and Billy Godleman can look around and throw the ball to either of two world-class performers when he needs a wicket.

Exciting times and you have to say a fantastic winter, so far.

Viljoen, Tahir, Mendis, Reece, Wilson - half a side in new players and all of them very good indeed.

With a little luck, I expect a much-improved Derbyshire side in 2017 across all formats. How about this for a notional season opener?

Godleman
Slater
Hughes/Reece/Wood/McDonnell
Madsen
Broom
Thakor
Wilson
Mendis
Palladino
Viljoen
Davis

Lots of question marks though! Who will bat three? Might Harvey Hosein or Gary Wilson play as a batting specialist? Will Milnes, Cotton, Taylor or Cork get the nod as third seamer? Where will Jeevan Mendis bat?

What do you think?

25 comments:

Mark N said...

I noticed the comments about Davis as well. I had Milnes pencilled in for a place but I think we might be looking at double spin in the overseas and Critchley and double pace with Viljeon & Davis and then double medium fast in Palladino & Thakor. Means we would have a minimum of 6 good bowling options plus perhaps Hughes or Reece on top. Personally I don't see Wood or McDonnell as starters yet in the Championship. I know Hughes' did well at 3 but I see him at 5 if anywhere. Personally I would go Madsen at 3. Broom at 4. Wayne has batted at 3 plenty of times and Broom might be motivated by the extra responsibility of 4. Mendis at 5 is a gamble, however, just trying to break up the run of right handers.
Something like this:
Godleman
Slater
Madsen
Broom
Mendis
Thakor
Wilson (w/k)
Critchley
Palladino
Viljeon
Davis
One might argue that we are light on batting. Possibly so. Especially when Tahir comes in to replace Mendis. At that point I think one of the seamers makes way for Hughes or Reece. We might need to rotate say Palladino and Davis anyway which would make that simple enough. It could quite easily be what you've said Peakfan and I wouldn't be fussed if it is. I just worry about #3 when Slater has still been very inconsistent in the red ball game (very talented as he has proven on numerous occasions in both red and white ball) but do I want Hughes at 3 or Reece another left hander. Think I would lik Wayne at 1 down and Broom in at 2 down. We know Broom can play. Last season he didn't deliver. Showed some talent to get to 90 odd a couple of times but he under delivered. However, his record suggests he can improve.

Josh said...

Thinking we will need to find space for both Wilson and Hosein, Peak Fan. Although that means a rejig when Wilson is on international duty. Maybe Bill and Ben opening. Madsen back to 3, Broom 4, Thakor 5, Wilson 6, Hosein 7, Mendis 8, Palladino/Milnes 9, Viljoen 10 and Davis 11. Whatever line up is chosen, it'll be a strong one thanks to the good work from Kim and co over this winter. Selection is always tough - Mendis has a very good first class batting average, but I can't see anywhere other than 8 for him. Whilst I'm here, thoughts on whether Alex Hughes being given the limited overs captaincy on a full time basis next summer would be a good move?

Snapper said...

According to Kim at the members forum Shiv Thakor is batting number three next season

Anonymous said...

Surely Hosein has to start with the gloves after the way he finished last season? Wilson is a very experienced and useful second option, and indeed could be included as a batting specialist perhaps, but surely it's Hosein behind the stumps....surely?!

Falcon Crest

Peakfan said...

Interesting, Snapper, but a sound move as the lad can obviously bat. Three will test him, but Alex showed it can be done last year. He has the technique but he will need to be fit, as he will be doing some bowling too!

Alex as skipper for limited overs? Works for me, unless it can be used as bait for an overseas star in T20. He is a good one-day player and key part of the team for me

Peakfan said...

Fair point Falcon Crest and a sign of how well the winter has gone. Dont see us omitting the vice captain though. Could play both but HH will get his cricket with Wilson's international commitments. Time is very much on his side

Mark N said...

I would like Guptill as t20 captain

Mark N said...

Shiv at 3 would be very interesting. I wouldn't have seen that coming.

Ash said...

Guptill as T20 captain would be a dream

Ash said...

Godleman
Slater
Hughes
Reece
Madsen
Broom

Thakor/Milnes all rounders

Wilson/HH w/k

Mendis/Tahir
Critchley

Palladino
Viljoen
Davis

Wood
MacDonell
Hemmings
Cotton
Taylor
Cork

Certainly looking to have a strong starting 11 come April!

Knack said...

If you are the opposition your bowlers are going to fancy it more than your batters ( if the overseas stay fit )

Mark N said...

I still think our batting is weak and missing another experienced head who can fitness permitting guarantee is around 1000+ runs. Much like Madsen and Godleman. However, my main gripe last season was the bowling so that has been addressed. However, in an ideal world I would want a top level #3. Sounded from Kim's interview last week that won't happen. Just need to make sure Slater and Broom step up another level. Both are more than capable and Slater especially in one day cup showed he is class. Needs to get his red ball average up though. I would be inclined to give Slater some confidence and say he is getting the first 6 matches as he's never been sure of his place with Chesney etc so now can say to him you've got first shot. Go make the position yours. Still, that means question marks over #3 but can't afford to go into a season with doubts on two of the top 3. Need some stability. Hence why I would move Wayne to 3 and Broom to 4.

Ron said...

I was also at Darley Dale and can confirm Snapper is correct and Kim did say they were looking at Shiv as a Number 3 next Season

Derbyshire supporter burton said...

They did have a #3 who had 800 runs at 50 until he was excluded from the team 3/4 of the way last season a three year deal for a kolpak bowler is a big risk for derbyshire especially given rhe clubs record with kolpak's over the last fiftheen years

Mark N said...

Yeah the Chesney release did surprise me but we have a history of that kind of thing. He's gone now. Onwards and upwards.

Knack said...

Derbyshire supporter, his first class record is better than footit and I am pretty sure you wouldn't regard signing him on a 3 year deal represented a big risk

Peakfan said...

I am with the others, Derbyshire Supporter. No risk in a player of Viljoen's ability. He is some way past the 'average' mark as a cricketer. Celebrate the skills of a high quality bowler we can enjoy for three years.
Chesney? Wanted something we couldnt justify I assume. End of story and not irreplaceable, for me

Peakfan said...

I am with the others, Derbyshire Supporter. No risk in a player of Viljoen's ability. He is some way past the 'average' mark as a cricketer. Celebrate the skills of a high quality bowler we can enjoy for three years.
Chesney? Wanted something we couldnt justify I assume. End of story and not irreplaceable, for me

Mark N said...

Agree Peakfan Chesney certainly is not irreplaceable however, therein lies my problem as we haven't signed a replacement batsmen. Reece? Mmmm. Maybe he could be but I rather see him as competition for Slater. I still think we needed an experienced #3 or 4. Anyway, I am happy with the business done and you never know we might get a surprise, we have the icing on the cake but perhaps the cherry on top is still to come

Ash said...

With the new attitude from the club being 'take responsibility of your own destiny' perhaps Kim has challenged Ben/Alex/Louis to step up to the mark and cement a place in the side, I think we are agreed that all 3 have the talent and ability, its a case of putting it into practice and getting their minds right, and Id like to think that Broom will come good, even though he didnt set the world alight last season it surely must have done him the world of good experience wise

Knack said...

Its Kims way or minor counties cricket. Let's wait and see, we have had new school, who knows, old school might be better. I know one thing about Kim, if he is proved wrong he won't hang around waiting for a pay off.

Paul said...

I too am delighted with the signings.

However we do need a reality check. Of the batsmen only Madsen has a first class average that is acceptable with some ( Slater in particular a lot to prove in red ball cricket).
As for Viljoen being " no risk " - have you forgotten our endless list of failed overseas/kolpacks Peakfan?

Old Supporter said...

Surely the way Hosein finished this year with an average of over a hundred - admittedly over a small number of appearances but nonetheless pretty impressive! - he will have to put in a miserable pre-season not to be an automatic choice as a batsman, irrespective of whether Wilson is selected. Time may well be on Hosein's side; we just need to ensure that he spends that time with Derbyshire.

I am intrigued why Broom attracts so much support as a definite choice, never mind as a potential number four. I hope he proves me wrong. I'd like to think, though, that selection will be more obviously based on form than it was at times this season.

Finally, thanks to Chris Grant for the way he has moved the club forward in the last couple of months.

Mark N said...

I think Viljeon seems a good character. His stint at Kent was good. He is of the right age. Not some 30 something seeking one last pay day.

Mark N said...

Some good points old supporter. Harvey could well play as well as Wilson. That is a good option. Although I've always said Wilson would be the shoe in due to his seniority and now he's been announced as VC it's just a question of whether Harvey plays as well. Regards Brom I have suggested 4 as he seems to bat there in NZ and I feel that publically backing him and extra responsibility might help. I might be wrong. Could be a disaster. But he showed some glimpses last season with some situations where he got out in the 90s. Batting is still light for me. Been saying all winter I want another batsmen but perhaps the potential is there. It's now down to the players to deliver.