Saturday, 22 July 2017

A season-defining week ahead

The next week is one that will define whether the 2017 season will go down in history as where Derbyshire started their climb to a side of quality, or sparkled briefly, only to fizzle out once more.

It is undeniable that we have played a better quality of cricket than before in this T20.

So far.

The key is now to extend that through a week of largely home matches, against teams who we should have a chance of beating. Warwickshire away are beatable, after a wretched summer, while Lancashire could, with a little more batting nous, have been beaten at Old Trafford. If we can do better on Tuesday, it sets the return against Northamptonshire up nicely on Friday, before table-topping Leicestershire visit on Sunday.

In previous years I would have thought 'one win, three losses' among that set, but it is a sign of the change of mindset that all could be viewed as wins. They possibly won't be, but we are a better-equipped and more experienced side this year, if we maintain focus.

Yes, as a contributor said yesterday, we are missing Shiv Thakor, but I would be surprised if we see him, so must continue as we are. We are crying out for a Charl Langeveldt, but the batting in this format has evolved even since his time. With batsmen using the full depth and width of the crease and carrying bats that will mishit sixes, short boundaries make the task of the bowler an onerous one.

Any bowler, especially those who often bowl in the Powerplays, who hits the ten an over mark for runs conceded is probably achieving par. As we saw the other night with Matt Henry, his last three balls changed impressive figures to average, as they went for 16 runs. None were bad balls, but the batsman chanced his arm and strength and away the ball went, along with his figures. It was the same for Imran last night, they perhaps didn't always read him, but rode the luck and reaped the rewards.

If the eleven that played last night remain fit, I don't see changes this week. Who would you leave out, with all the batsmen scoring runs and three internationals in the bowling ranks? Callum Brodrick's place is the most vulnerable, but do you pick a batsman who might not bat, a bowler you may not need or your best fielder?

With Madsen, Henry, Viljoen and Tahir to bowl 16 overs, I think the other four will continue to be split between Reece, Hughes and Critchley, unless Ben Cotton rediscovers his best bowling form or Tom Wood hits furiously this weekend at club level. Maybe Charlie Macdonell, who bats well and offers another spin option. Perhaps Hamidullah Qadri, whose height may make him more difficult to get 'under'. If they are unlikely to be used, then pick the best fielder, whoever he is.

Will it be enough to make it a golden week? I know no more than you, but I reckon that the side goes into every game now with a fifty per cent chance of success, sometimes more.

It is a long time since we have been able to say that and the efforts of John Wright and the captaincy of Gary Wilson have been impressive. We have plans, something we haven't had for a year or two, but not rigid ones. Reece didn't bowl last night (and will doubtless be pleased!)while the opposition don't 'line up' our bowlers in longer spells. We are lessening the impact of dot balls on our totals and largely batting with greater urgency, batsmen encouraged to express themselves.

It will make for a worthy week of watching and I hope that the locals turn up in the numbers that the efforts of everyone deserve.

If I get to next Sunday evening and remain in a state of anticipation, it will be a job well done.


Gary Spencer said...

How could Derbyshire improve?

The fielding in the inner circle need to be more sharpe. We have let teams have some cheap singles with lack sharpness. I do believe catches win matches and last night was a big drop and could reduced the target.

The bowling of Viljoen and Henry need to bowl more tighter lines and make it hard. I would personally rotate Viljoen and Cotton only because you can tell the movement of Viljoen is not right. This is a player who is desprate to play but is playing with injury. I admire Viljoen and excited of prospect when he is fit. I don't think with games coming thick and fast playing through will come out with good outcome.

Having 5 bowler to get them 4 overs. I believe we need two palyers who can bowl them. I do think Wilson would behind the wicket if it wasn't for injury as Smit would bowl. I don't think bringing Hussian would boost the team enough at present. I would go for Hughes who has actually bowled quite conistant and Reece. I don't believe Critchley has gone forward with his bowling.

Kim Barnet deserves credit as getting John Wright been amazing. He has helped Billy with his game and many others to play with a freedom and enjoy it. He brings a wealth of exprience aswell as tactics. I think the biggest diffrence is with the batting the 1st power play 6 target 70 and getting as many singles on bad balls. I hope now the groundsman can produce a pitch that will help us be sucessful in next few weeks. In 20/20 anyone can win one the day and still think its a huge ask to get in top 4. We certainly given good go so far

malcolm barlow said...

For the first time for a few years ,I feel genuinely optimistic about our chances!
I am an old guy and my first game was Les Jackson s last season
We had good players then but won nowt
I did go to all our finals though.since1969

I am in danger of starting to like T20!