Friday, 23 December 2016

Where Derbyshire lead...a final pre-Christmas thought

It isn't that long since Derbyshire separated the coaching function at the club and announced that the T20 role will in future be that of a specialist in the field.

John Wright was announced as the coach and today, having presumably watched and thought it made eminent sense, Middlesex has announced that their 2017 T20 campaign will be under the coaching of ex-New Zealand all-rounder, Daniel Vettori.

In my opinion the finest finger-spinner outside of Asia in the past twenty years, Vettori has, like Wright, earned his reputation in the IPL and is currently coaching Brisbane Heat in the Australian Big Bash.

It is a sound appointment and makes a lot of sense, but it is pleasing to see that Derbyshire are trail-blazers. I'm old enough to think back to the 1960s, when every county bar us and Yorkshire were going down the overseas route and bringing the finest players in the world to the county game. We didn't go down that path until 1970, an expressed desire to field a team ideally from within the county borders laudable, though not especially successful. It was fine for Yorkshire, who had plenty of wonderful cricketers  at the time, but made little sense for Derbyshire, other than the fact that we hadn't really got the finance to attract a Sobers, Kanhai, Procter or Richards.

Whatever else Kim Barnett has managed this winter, in his new role of Director of Cricket, he has given supporters grounds for optimism that there is a brighter future ahead. As he oversaw a period in which playing Derbyshire presented a challenge, perhaps he will now ensure, from off the pitch, a period where we again become a force to be reckoned with.

Maybe our bringing in Kolpaks will not meet with universal approval. There will be those who see a team of home products as the preferred option, but the reality is that our academy structure, although bearing fruit, is still waiting for most of it to ripen. While it may do so in time, perhaps it can be accelerated with the new path we have taken. Perhaps, we might see a crop of young seam bowlers, as talented as we have had for a number of years, progress with the influence of Tony Palladino and Hardus Viljoen. By the same token, a four-year contract was given to Matt Critchley because of obvious potential that has seen him work with Shane Warne and doubtless play alongside Jeevan Mendis and Imran Tahir.

We might yet see another, and my remaining concern for next summer is the inexperience in batting if we get an injury to Wayne Madsen or Billy Godleman and Gary Wilson is away with Ireland. Perhaps one of the young batsmen might fill the breach, but if they don't...

It is a damned if you do, damned if you don't scenario. Neil Broom was supposed to be that batsman, but ended his one season with a mid-twenties average we could have got from a local lad. Then again, so did Hashim Amla and Tillakaratne Dilshan, players from who you would expect much better.

Yet for me, getting the right man in the middle order is now key. We appear to have sorted the bowling - let's now get the final piece of the jigsaw in place.

So ends my three thousandth post on this blog and another year that has set fresh records in terms of readership and visits. Thanks to all of you for your continued support and interest.

Have a fantastic Christmas - I will see you all on the other side, before the New Year!

Assuming AB de Villiers doesn't take up a Kolpak offer between times...


Stevie B said...

Would still like to see a seasoned pro like Cameron wishes blog as always

Anonymous said...

I think some experience in the middle order would be preferable so someone of that ilk would please me. Much as I was behind the Smit potential signing he has never played county cricket over here. I am sure Kim Barnett will have a master plan.