There was a time, when I started writing this blog, when I was baffled by some of the goings on at Derbyshire and said so on a regular basis. For all the good intentions of those involved, we seemed to do some odd things and make signings that were of questionable judgement and value.
Maybe I am mellowing with age, or more likely we just have the right, professional people in charge of the club affairs now.
Take today's news, for example. Instead of a pre-season tour to Dubai, Derbyshire will train at home in a Briggs of Burton-sponsored 750 square metre marquee. It makes total sense to me for the players to be ready for the first match on what we assume will be seaming tracks, rather than going to Dubai and playing on wickets that are considerably different.
OK, I guess that the players might enjoy the change of climate and the opportunity to get some warm sun on their backs, but the positive impact of this development, complete with its daylight panels, cannot be over-estimated.
It apparently encourages grass growth too, so the 3aaa County Ground will be at its most lush in April, when hopefully we win the toss a few times and bowl...
On the pitch, it has been good to follow the fortunes of Ireland and Gary Wilson. He looks a good player, which we knew from his averages anyway, but the composed way with which he steered his side to a win yesterday augured well for 2017. He has a reputation as a player who runs hard, times the ball well and turns ones into twos, little things that make a big difference in T20, especially.
He played another cameo today, as his side won once more and there is no doubt that our new vice captain will be a definite enhancement to Derbyshire, as we aim to improve on a largely dismal 2016.
Speaking of T20, did anyone see Kiwi leg-spinner Ish Sodhi demolish Sydney Thunder today in the BBL, with 6-11 in 21 balls? To be fair, he didn't bowl THAT well, but it showed the value of leggies in this format and the batsmen appeared baffled for the best part. At one point Brad Hodge had three slips and a leg slip set for him, which I have never seen before in the format - and don't expect to see to many more times either.
Mind you, we have two leg-spinners for the format this year...
See you soon.