I don't know if any of you caught the interview with Kim Barnett yesterday, but if you didn't, our Director of Cricket said that the decision on replacing Neil Broom had been passed to skipper Billy Godleman.
It is a laudable and the right thing to do, given that Billy will be leading the side and taking the responsibility for performances and results.
It is also a big decision.
There are several options for the vacated place in the batting order from the existing staff. As things stand, at least as far as I am concerned, there are four certainties for the top order when the summer starts. With Shiv Thakor likely to bat three, according to Barnett at a pre-Christmas members forum, our top four is likely to be Godleman, Slater, Thakor and Madsen.
Who then for five,six and seven?
There's Alex Hughes, Tom Wood, Charlie McDonnell, Luis Reece, Gary Wilson and Harvey Hosein as good options, but there is a risk in having effectively a third of the top order as unproven players at first-class level. Jeevan Mendis could bat there, based on his reputation and average, but may find English conditions a challenge, much as Broom did.
Alex Hughes suggested at the end of last summer that he may be ready for the step up, while Luis Reece has scored good runs before with Lancashire. Gary Wilson has an excellent first-class record, while Harvey Hosein batted beautifully in the closing weeks of the summer. Wood and McDonnell have obvious talent, but limited opportunity at this stage.
Of course, if they don't get games, how will we know what they can do?
It is worthy of a poll, so for those with an interest in such things, let me know your thoughts in the usual manner, and/or by completing the poll on the left.
If the money is there, however, there must be temptation to replace Broom with a player of greater experience and proven reputation, probably from South Africa. I read today that Rilee Rossouw was believed to be considering his options and there would be much to like in a 27-year old with a highest first-class score of 319 and a one-day international average of just under 40. He won't be alone, and when one of the country's current seam attack, Kyle Abbott, has signed a three-year Kolpak deal with Hampshire, it tells a story of the ongoing and understandable talent drain from that country that won't stop any time soon.
Barnett also mentioned that the loan market was an option for Derbyshire, which is true, but I'm not sure that I'd be in favour of that.
For one thing, you are signing someone who is not good enough for regular cricket at his own county, though granted it may be one awash with good players. For another, it rarely works out especially well and if it does, you just get another team's player into form. For a third, you are effectively admitting that none of your current staff are up to it, which is hardly a team and morale-building move unless awash with injuries.
But what do you think?