Friday, 16 February 2018

Critchley Lions call well-deserved

It is a further sign of the progress being made at Derbyshire, were it needed, with the call up of Matt Critchley to England Lions duty this week.

I am pleased that I have been present at the two innings that in time to come will go down as the genesis of a talented young man's career. Firstly, with his century at Derby against Northamptonshire, in only his second first-class match, which  marked him as a young player who could do more than hold an end up in a plucky tail end resistance. My guess is that he will start this season at six in a Derbyshire batting line up that is a nice mixture of relative youth and considerable experience.

Then, last year at Belper (and after I had suggested as much on this blog) we saw him elevated to open the innings in T20 matches for the second team against Durham. He didn't set the world on fire, but there was sufficient promise in his clean hitting of the bowlers to warrant an elevation to the senior side in the format. There he did well, giving the side the pinch hitter that we needed, but far more than that. This was not a slogger, but a lad who can clearly bat, with considerable potential to get the ball through and over the field.

After eighteen first-class games he already has a batting average north of thirty. His task for the summer ahead is to take that to over 35 and produce more of the punishing displays of which we now know he is capable. Similarly, he needs to turn the limited overs breezy twenties and thirties into something more substantial, on a regular basis. Last year was one of encouragement and he needs to return from his fine winter in Australia to maintain that.

His bowling has proved very useful in the shorter formats, but a first-class average in excess of three figures shows there is still much to be done to get players out when they don't have to slog him. Yet at 21, time is something he has on his side.

Perhaps, like Kim Barnett, his bowling will become something that is brought out only on special occasions as his batting develops, but there is enough about that bowling for him to continue to work. There is a good loop and, crucially, a niche in the national side for a player who can contribute in all areas.

He's a good cricketer, and I look forward to watching him become even better over the years ahead.


David Woolley said...

I think Matt has the potential to become a very, very good cricketer Peakfan.
Let's hope he keeps on progressing, as we want all of our young players to do.
He has always struck me as having a very experienced head on very young shoulders.
I know people will say that if he continues progressing, he will be 'snaffled' by a bigger county. That's as maybe, but for the time being, let's all hope he continues his development, and pushes DCCC forward towards better times, and who knows, possibly some silverware.

Peakfan said...

Well he is contracted to 2020, David and in my opinion is likely to stay if we have a winning and happy squad.
He has learned from Warne, Mendis and Tahir. Now he can work with Santner, not that much older.
With good batting role models around in Madsen and Godleman, he can achieve ambitions at Derbyshire