Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Gleadall and Qadri standard-bearers for next generation

Today's news of the selection of the selection for England under-19s of Alfie Gleadall (17) and Hamidullah Qadri (16) is exciting for Derbyshire cricket followers.

The talent of Qadri has already been announced, his match-winning haul at Cardiff last week having captured the imagination of the national, as well as local media. While impressive, I don't think it comes close to the full talent of a young man who has been taking a lot of wickets and scoring a lot of runs in club, age-group and second eleven cricket. He will be a major part of the Derbyshire side for the next generation, all being well.

As will Alfie Gleadall. People whose judgement I trust reckon that he is a genuine fast bowler and has rich talent, which it is nice to see recognised at national level, with time to spare. Like Qadri, and indeed any young player, developing the mental and physical toughness for a career in top-class sport is important, as is working at your game and listening to the right people.

Well-meaning or otherwise, everyone has advice for the young and identifying the right people to listen to and acting on their ideas is key to quicker development. I still think of a talent ruined in Tom Knight, who could so easily have been a Ross Whiteley-style batsman and perhaps one-day bowler, if we hadn't messed up his long-grooved action. The time to have done that was his early teens, before muscle memory made the major change a thankless and ultimately fruitless task.

While Gleadall and Qadri are the highest-profile in the current academy, there are others of real talent. Callum Brodrick has been doing very well in the second team and league cricket, as has Alfie's brother Archie, while Sam Conners, a talented seam bowler, has impressed people on the second team circuit. There are also good vibes about Josh Lacey, son of our former spin bowler Simon, who himself is still playing well locally.

They will follow on to Matt Critchley and Harvey Hosein, both just twenty and Will Davis, who at 21 needs only to get his body stronger to be a special fast bowler. These young men are hugely talented and will almost certainly be a part of the club's future.

Of course there are challenges along the way, as all three have already discovered. Yet that is life and each will come through the other side stronger. In a strange irony, Hosein's current battle mirrors that of current first choice Daryn Smit.

He first played for the Dolphins franchise in 2002, but was kept out of a regular place in the side by the presence of first Errol Stewart and then Duncan Brown, both solid cricketers, the former playing one-day games for South Africa. Yet he persevered, worked at his game and by the time he was 23 became a regular in the side.

Critchley, Hosein and Davis are novices in cricket terms and each has endured frustrations in their fledgling careers, as have Ben Slater and a good few others. Yet they will also be aware that the key to getting a regular place in the side is to produce sustained performance.

I always think back to Kim Barnett, Chris Adams and John Morris, who all managed to break into a Derbyshire batting line-up of talented seniors that included David Steele, Barry Wood and John Hampshire. Throw in two talented overseas players in John Wright and Peter Kirsten and there weren't many obvious ways in, yet all three persevered, did what was expected and gradually took their place in what became the county's strongest-ever batting side.

If Critchley uses the opportunity to learn from Imran Tahir, Hosein taps into the knowledge of Smit and Davis learns from Tony Palladino and Hardus Viljoen, the reality of a team that is primarily raised in Derbyshire will not be as unrealistic as some might think.

And it is all very exciting, but the key for them - and for us - is patience.

1 comment:

My lads dad said...

After watching Mal Loye closely working with these upcoming players in the academy, I can see why his influence and coaching will definitely get results given the correct resources, he leaves them under no illusions as to what the demands are of life in professional cricket but also has the ability to communicate and nurture younger talent that may not be as mentally or physically developed at this stage, Derbyshire have 2 cricket board and 1 academy player selected for the Midlands to play at the Bunbury Festival at Stowe School in July, great signs for Kim Barnett's model of young local talent becoming the next generation of Derbyshire players, let's hope they continue to give Mal their full backing almost 1 year in and things are moving well, a very shrewd move by Kim, in my opinion