Friday, 24 March 2017

A week to go!

It's nearly here, folks.

Just over a week until Derbyshire play their first pre-season friendly (weather permitting) and we have made it through another long, dark, wet but exciting winter.

I can't recall one that had more to offer than that just past and the standard of recruitment has been extremely high. It needed to be, because we were out of our depth at times last year, as much through inexperience as anything. We have some very talented young players at the club and what they needed more than anything was some senior professionals of good standing to work and play alongside.

Derbyshire's cricket board and specifically Kim Barnett has delivered in spades.

Earlier this week we read that Billy Godleman is learning a lot from Kim Barnett and I can understand that. There is much to learn from a man who, for all the issues at the club in that era, was an outstanding cricketer and captain. Tapping into his knowledge and gaining the benefit of his experience will be priceless to a man who is still learning the ropes in that area. Likewise, as an opening batsman he could have few better mentors, were one needed.

Much as Barnett learned from Phil Russell, Guy Willatt and senior professionals like John Hampshire and David Steele, so Billy can learn from Kim and two men with senior captaincy experience in Gary Wilson and Daryn Smit. With Wayne Madsen also in the ranks, there is now a solid core to the Derbyshire team where there was once a soft underbelly.

I don't think for a minute that we will be unbeatable this summer, but I don't expect us to fold easily either. Teams that beat Derbyshire should and will know they have been in a game.

Speaking of Daryn Smit, as we were, he tweeted his farewell to Durban earlier today, ahead of his flight to England and the splendour of God's Own County. It must have been an emotional departure but I am sure that he and his wife will get the warmest of welcomes at their new home.

Derbyshire has long since been regarded as a happy and welcoming club and I have no doubts that both will soon settle in to the area, the club and a new circle of friends.

Doubtless they will soon be joined by Jeevan Mendis and his family as the final components of the squad gather for pre-season practice and matches.

I don't recall being this excited ahead of a season for some years. Every April brings the promise of something new, something hopefully better, but this year genuinely does offer supporters grounds for optimism. Quite frankly, after the winter work that has been put in, the plans that are in place and the people who have come into roles on and off the pitch, anything less than major improvement is unacceptable.

There are good players at our club and for me we have a very good blend of talented youth and reliable seniors. For all that it is nice to see a side made up of primarily local players take the field, it is less so to watch them get hammered into the ground. Nor does it do them any favours.

Another week and it is time to let them loose.

On that thought, enjoy your weekend.


Mark said...

Don't forget though Peakfan, we've been here a million times before with huge optimism going into a new season, and falling flat on our faces. We were saying the same when Amla and Dilshan were announced, optimism went through the roof.
But as you rightly say, no excuses at all this time round if performances don't improve as recruitment has been of a very good standard last winter. Fingers crossed this is our season, it's been long overdue.

Peakfan said...

We have mate but they were only part season signings and we have a core of fine players for the whole campaign.
If we can't/don't improve with this team I will be very disappointed.

David Woolley said...

I'm with you on this one Peakfan.
I firmly believe (injury permitting) that we can really make a mark in the County championship. In my opinion, we have the bowling to do some real damage. Let's just hope that our batting stands up to scrutiny. As far as the RL cup goes, again, I think we could qualify to the quarter finals. T20 is not my 'cup of tea', but I do think that with it being such a short format, any game can be decided by one player 'having a stormer', whether that be with bat or ball.
I have to admit that I had a little chuckle when I heard that Stuart Broad will be making one of the games against us. I think we can take it as read that when he comes in to bat, the ball will be given quite quickly to Mr Viljoen, and we all know what will follow.
On the subject of Viljoen, myself and a couple of colleagues have not heard if he has a nickname? So we have decided he will be called 'Nails'. Get it...Hardus Nails. Perhaps we have to much time on our hands???

Mark said...

Just wondering if one of your future articles could be about the new T20 programme Peakfan. I'm not fully understanding the new format unlike many others on here. Thanks, Mark.