Thursday, 1 June 2017

Guest blog: Derbyshire bring in Conor McKerr on loan by Huw Lloyd

None can deny that Derbyshire’s season hasn’t got off to the start they would have liked, winless in the County Championship and last season’s troubles of not being able to take wickets have followed them into this season like that annoying friend at a party who you just can’t shake off. 

They have mitigating circumstances, Will Davis their home grown fast bowler who started the season well taking thirteen wickets sin this two appearances is now injured, as is winter signing Hardus Viljoen, who is yet to play a first class game for the county. However the management team have clearly recognised something needed to be done and the club have tonight announced the signing of Conor McKerr from Surrey on an initial 28-dayloan deal.

McKerr is South African but holds a UK Passport, so can play as a domestic player and has been doing so for Surrey Second XI this summer where he has impressed,  taking 10 wickets in his last two appearances for the county’s second string. McKerr has also represented South Africa under 19s on eight occasions, with best figures of 2 for 23. Derbyshire will be hoping McKerr can bring this wicket threat to a bowling attack which has failed to take the required 20 wickets in all bar one of its first class matches this season.

McKerr is a like for like replacement for the injured Viljoen, standing over six feet tall and showing genuine pace and wicket taking threat. He goes straight into the squad to face Nottinghamshire away at Trent Bridge starting on Friday. Director of Cricket Kim Barnett was keen to point out that the decision to bring in reinforcements came from the players saying “The captain, vice-captain and coaching staff felt the squad needed the impetus of a quick bowler.” They clearly have signed that fast bowler with McKerr being reported as bowling over 90mph.
Barnett was sure they had secured this too saying “Conor comes highly recommended and has represented South Africa at youth level, impressing with his natural pace. Running in at over six feet tall, he can provide that strike bowling option that we currently lack with the injuries to Hardus Viljoen and Will Davis.” McKerr also appears to be excited at the chance to play for Derbyshire tweeting “Exciting few weeks! On loan with Derbyshire for some first class exposure! Can’t wait for this opportunity… (fire) and also in replying to Derbyshire’s tweet announcing his signing saying “Can’t wait to be part of your squad!”
Derbyshire will not be able to wait either, and will be hoping the excitement and fresh impetus that a new signing can make comes up the M1 and has a positive effect on the bowlers and squad as a whole. He could not ask for a bigger challenge in his first match for the club though, away at the current Division Two leaders Nottinghamshire who are unbeaten in their five games so far this season. However he will not be a bowler many of the Nottinghamshire players know much about nor will they have prepared to face him, which may help him and Derbyshire in this match.
Whichever way this game or the next 28 days go for McKerr and Derbyshire, no one can deny that the club have been proactive in trying to find a solution to their wicket taking problems and we shall all wait to see how the move turns out for the club and McKerr himself.

With thanks to Huw Lloyd and Deep Extra Cover

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