Thank you to two regular readers for the following updates from the club members meeting, held last week.
One of the key things was the club's ongoing commitment to the Chesterfield cricket festival. After last September's wash out I had heard a few concerns, but the desire for a mid-summer week at my favourite cricket ground is unchanged.
Kim Barnett apparently said that there are no plans to replace Shiv Thakor and I understand that. There will be few players out there who afforded the balance that he did, but we have a large staff which allows someone to step up. With Wayne Madsen (quite likely) to bat three, we have eight or nine batsmen who have to hold their hand up. Alex Hughes did that last year and I am sure he will kick on this summer, as will Matt Critchley.
It is not beyond the realms of possibility that Harvey Hosein could push for a place as a batting specialist, regardless of whether he keeps or not. With Gary Wilson in the mix, Ireland commitments notwithstanding, there is the capacity for runs.
As for the bowling, it is felt that if Hardus Viljoen, Ravi Rampaul, Will Davis and an overseas bowling all-rounder are fit we can take 20 wickets. It is hard to argue and the attack, on paper at least, looks robust. Especially so if our spearhead returns from a winter back home with all important body parts intact...
As for the overseas roles, Barnett said that it will again be split, with one for each half of the season and two for the T20. Imran Tahir, as I have written before, only wants to play T20, so there is a decision to be made there.
If one assumes that a seam bowler who can bat is the target for early season, then a spinner is the likely target for the second half. There aren't that many of quality out there and I dare say that consideration will be given to Jeevan Mendis returning. Let's not forget that he took thirty wickets last year at the hardest part of the summer for spinners and would doubtless do better on harder tracks more receptive to spin. His batting might be better too, as his struggles when the ball moved around were obvious.
Mind you, if Ravindra Jadeja wants to emulate Ravi Ashwin in having a county stint, there will be no complaints from this correspondent...
Long term. Barnett feels that a squad of 14-15 first teamers, with three or four younger ones ready to step in is the goal. One of 20-23 is, he feels, too many and I would agree with that.
If nothing else, it should focus a few minds on working hard over the winter months.
The future is bright, but only with continued hard work, good coaching and sound recruitment.