Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Optimism? My thoughts on our rivals in division 2

There's always a few comments at the start of the season regarding my optimism on Derbyshire's fortunes.

Part of that is a reflection on my attitude to life, which is very much of the 'glass half full' variety. There are those who will see the slings and arrows of misfortune at every turn. I acknowledge they are there, but prefer to focus on what I have, not what I don't.

It's the same with my cricket team. Of course there are some good sides out there, but we have proven we can beat any of them over recent summers. Now, we need to string it together over a season.

We have two young opening batsmen of quality, two experienced ones of proven ability and two young men in the middle order who offer all round contributions and steady improvement. We have a wicket-keeper of world class, two South African seam bowlers of international standard, a West Indian who has been selected for elevens around the globe and one of the most exciting young fast bowlers in the country.

Why can't you be optimistic?

Now, let's look at our rivals in division two of the County Championship.

Durham - they've lost Onions, Coughlin and Jennings, while Burnham is banned for the season. They appear to have recruited well, with Tom Latham and Aiden Markram sharing overseas duties at the start of the summer, but need others to step up to the mark and Paul Collingwood can't go on for ever.

Glamorgan - Rudolph and Bragg have gone, with Shaun Marsh in as overseas. Colin Ingram is a fine player, but they are very much a side in transition, with young players needing to prove themselves and an attack based around seamers of experience. Need Marchant de Lange and Tim Van Der Gugten to spearhead their bowling.

Gloucestershire - the excellent Michael Klinger has gone and Dan Worrall and Andrew Tye share overseas duties. Phil Mustard has also gone and David Payne misses the start of the summer through ankle surgery. They have some good players but can they take twenty wickets?

Kent - Ball, Coles and Northeast have gone, with South African Heino Kuhn and Matt Henry coming the other way. Darren Stevens will again take early season wickets, but surely cannot keep going as he approaches his mid-sixties...another team where you struggle to see them bowl sides out, though runs should not be a problem

Leicestershire - their biggest card is Paul Nixon as coach. Michael Carberry has a big task as skipper of an experienced batting line-up, with many eyes on Tom Taylor and Callum Parkinson, formerly of Derbyshire, of course. Mohammad Abbas and Varun Aaron in turn need to spearhead the attack in which Ben Raine is likely to play a big part. Mark Cosgrove will again score a thousand runs, because that's what he does.

Middlesex - must surely start as favourites. They have the relatively unknown Hilton Cartwright as overseas, but will miss Dawid Malan and Eoin Morgan, as well as the injured Nick Gubbins at the start of the summer. If Roland-Jones gets picked for England and Tim Murtagh and Paul Stirling for Ireland, others need to step forward. Plenty of good players should see them one of the top two though and anything less should be deemed a failure.

Northamptonshire - They have recruited well, with Brett Hutton and Luke Procter shrewd signings. Always a side to be reckoned with, although working from a small squad and need no injuries. In new South African wicket-keeper Ricardo Vasconcelos perhaps have the most exotically-named player in the county game. Top four, for me, especially if Ben Duckett recovers from winter travails to lead a strong batting line-up. They have one of the best seam attacks in the division.

Sussex - another of my challengers, but have lost Chris Nash and Steve Magoffin and have Chris Jordan and Jofra Archer in the IPL for the start of the summer. With no signings yet announced, other than for T20, another side who need to start well under an early handicap.

Warwickshire - only Will Rhodes has come in, from Yorkshire, but a lot of older players in the squad. If Olly Stone fires they can do well, and Keith Barker is a good cricketer, but they need some of their younger players, including the highly-rated Sam Hain, to step up for them. Jeetan Patel will again be one of the county game's best spinners and most valuable overseas players.

As for Derbyshire, you already know my thoughts. If our bowlers stay fit, they can take 20 wickets and there's been a few years since we could say that. The batsmen need to get the runs on the board better than last year and we need a couple around the thousand-run mark.

Yet for me, mid-table at least. Our attack matches any in the division on paper and the second half of summer signing for the overseas role will dictate our final position.

They need to make that work where it matters now.


Anonymous said...

Hi Peakfan
Just wondered what you thought about Morne Morkel?When fit this guy will eat batsman for breakfast but my worry is (or, as a lancs supporter, should that be hope) that he'll miss hard chunks of the season with injury? He does seem that type of player.

Peakfan said...

Hi Matthew he is a great bowler but a long back does cause intercostal injuries and hamstring issues.

If he plays regularly he will win them matches though. Class act for sure

Anonymous said...

I would take Phil Mustard on purely as a batsman

Peakfan said...

There might be a county offer him a T20 deal on a good career record, but not for me.
If the T20 signings can handle a bat, as well as bowl, I am not sure he would offer much more than we have.
I'm glad you specified as a batsman..don't need another keeper!

Peakfan said...

Just checked..season highest of 72 for Gloucs last year and T20 average of 20.
Not for me, but others may agree with you and its all about opinions...

Anonymous said...

I agree with you Peakfan. This looks on paper a very talented and well balanced Derbyshire team. If everybody can stay fit and the squad can all play the type of cricket they are capable of, then this should be a very good summer for everybody involved at the club. As you have previously noted, some of the pre-season reviews in the media have been incredibly dismissive and somewhat bizarre. Not one article I have seen has even mentioned Matt Critchley which is amazing after the winter he has had. I really think this squad is a dark horse for success and the opening exchanges in the friendly match against Warwickshire with Slater and Reece looking in good form from the off has only built up that optimism further. If you talk to most county members they all have early season concerns about their batting and bowling. You also get the feeling that this is a team who actually want to play in the County Championship! As we have already seen in the past few weeks, various “fashionable” counties are now experiencing the modern day problem of players announcing that they have decided not to play red ball cricket (Yorkshire and Notts) or players who get a last minute invitation to play in the IPL (again, Yorkshire) rather than starting the new county season with their home club. The County Championship should not be de-valued in this way and let’s hope Derbyshire are the team to show everybody how to play with pride and enjoyment in this competition! Finally, the loss of Mitchell Santner to injury was very disappointing news. His signing was a major statement of intent by the county and a shame we will not get to see him action. Hopefully the club will make a similar inspirational overseas player announcement for the T20 and end of season Championship matches soon. Anyway, looking forward to the start of the Championship. We just need the rain to stop!! James

Peakfan said...

Good post James. Yeah I don't get how these dismissive reports are made.

I look at other squads and wouldn't swap some for ours. That is a serious attack to start the summer

Roy of the Falcons said...

Was the Darren Stevens mid sixties comment a mistake or a test to see if we read your articles. When I looked down the list of IPL players I felt sorry for the members of the clubs concerned.

Peakfan said...

It was a tongue in cheek comment on an excellent player who has been a model professional for years!

Yes, the IPL has ravaged counties and Sussex and Yorkshire have real cause to be aggrieved in particular

Opening Bat said...

Good analysis peakfan, I think we have a pretty good squad, certainly an improvement on last year. I sense an element of negativity from many people who want cover for players IF, particularly the bowlers, stay fit. When did we have such a strong quick bowling attack we can rotate and probably accommodate injuries, as PF says in his analysis of all the other counties, 'XXX must step up' etc. if they don't other counties will struggle We don't need to take cover for the sake if it, there is the loan market. I for one am very enthusiastic about the coming season, especially as we still have the guessing game of another signing, just can't see the season arriving with this awful weather!! Agree Sussex as challengers, nobody seems to be mentioning their 12 man.... Jason Gillespie... worth a extra player on the field with his coaching nouse!