Regular readers will know that I warned of the possibility of Hardus Viljoen's absence from the start of the season a couple of weeks back.
He hasn't played since January back home, so it seemed a somewhat miraculous recovery in time for the season opener tomorrow.
Alas it is not to be and the club statement said that they are working to get him fit as soon as possible. Like you, I have no idea how long that will be, but as a major component of our four-day threat in attack, we need it to be sooner, rather than later. No doubt our opposition's batsmen are breathing a sigh of relief tonight, as no one likes playing genuinely quick bowling, but this is and should be more than a one-man team.
His absence gives opportunity to someone else and sometimes good fortune can be the catalyst for something special. Here's hoping...
A thirteen-man squad has been named for the game, which reads as follows:
Hard to call who drops out of that squad, but on pre-season opportunity I would guess any two from Slater, Cotton and Hughes. It is tough on all and a sign of how we have improved over the winter. Reece, Smit, Wilson and Mendis make their county debuts and there should be an improvement in the batting as a result. All are players of talent and should make us a harder, more competitive side.
We will need to be against a visiting side that steamrollered Glamorgan in their first game. The likelihood is that we will end up batting first and we will see the effectiveness of the pre-season marquee work against a keen attack.
The visitors have a good, solid squad that cannot be underestimated, but there is depth and greater experience to the batting that should serve us well over the summer.
Buck, Cobb, Crook, Duckett, Holden, Keogh, Kleinveldt, Levi, Rossington, Sanderson, Wakely, White.
It will be a good test for our side against one that always flies under the radar.
My money is on a draw to start, but we need to be fast out of the blocks and ready to battle.
Good luck lads. Make my fiftieth summer as a Derbyshire supporter a special one....