Thursday, 7 June 2018

A moment of contemplation

I think it a sign of the progress we are making at Derbyshire that we are disappointed that we couldn't chase nearly 250-plus to beat Lancashire, and then lost narrowly to Yorkshire. Equally so that we went to Birmingham and beat Warwickshire, the only team to do so, thus far.

I have watched us for long enough to remember times when a run chase over 175 was comfortably beyond our compass, and it is not that long since we fielded first-class attacks that re-defined the term 'pop gun'.

We won't always get it right and we must remember that we have the second lowest playing budget in the country, so its use has always to err on the side of canny, rather than profligate. Take a look at Lancashire, who cannot qualify today, and Surrey, who might, but really should be doing with the size of their playing budget and those at their disposal. Middlesex too, are another side with far greater resources than us, but looking like winning nothing anytime soon.

We are punching above our weight and I hope will continue to do so. It is a tribute to canny recruitment that you look at our squad in most matches and think we might just beat a strong-looking opposition.

The squad size is the dilemma and yet, what can you do? We either go with a small, but perfectly-formed squad as at present, or throw in a few others as contingencies. The loss of Luis Reece has proved pivotal to our RLODC fortunes, because he has become such a key player in all formats, but we can't carry a similar player outside of the strongest squad.

We released several players over the winter, one or two of them 'perhaps' too soon, but none have shipped up elsewhere to great effect and our embarrassment. Tom Taylor can't get into a very average Leicestershire attack, Ben Cotton is in the Northamptonshire squad today but hasn't played any senior cricket, while others have appeared in second teams around the country. Which all suggests that Kim Barnett got it right.

With such a small squad, injuries cause major issues. We took Mark Footitt on loan, then he went back, injured, after one match. Safyaan Sharif has come in, but also, I  understand, has a niggle, hence Alfie Gleadall at eighteen being in today's squad, alongside Dan Wheeldon, who is the club's Cricket and Commercial Operations Manager, though a very good club cricketer. Another couple of injuries would have a severe impact on our T20 fortunes, but we must hope for sustained fitness and good luck from here.

At least we have Wahab Riaz coming in soon. I just wonder if the injury to Reece  has meant a rethink on the second overseas role, or if he should be fit by then? That foot will have a lot of work to do in the T20, for sure.

In closing, I am excited at the coming weekend, when I travel to Chester-le-Street and the first two days against Durham. The forecast is set fair and I hope to see Derbyshire resume four-day cricket in the same frame of mind that got them into fourth place before the RLODC took over.

Let me know if you're planning a trip up. It's under three hours for me, so a stroll in the park compared to a trip to Derby. Mrs P suggested I should maybe follow them instead and be able to go more often, but that's not how it works, is it?

I'll be back later, or tomorrow morning, after the Nottinghamshire match.


Anonymous said...

I agree entirely.  It is still telling that all the fine wins receive 2 or 3 comments and the loss v lancs gets 11 so far.

I have just returned from my annual pilgrimage to Gods country.  I managed to make the game V Northants and the lancashire game.  Versus Northants it was obvious the pitch was slow and sticky and we played the conditions excellently.  It has been a long time since my beloved Derbyshire have been 100 for nowt let alone 200 in any competition.

In a terribly sparse crowd the locals I spoke to were not happy bunnies.  From the start they were not convinced that they would get anywhere near and in truth they didnt.  Never up with the rate and the excellent kleinveldt just prolonged the inevitable.

The crowd on Sunday was much better and I received the customary warm welcome.  Late in due to travel problems I arrived as lancs just lost their second wicket at 100 odd in the 22 over.  That we managed to restrict them to 290 was a fine effort.  We started and finished like a train but the bit in the middle was the problem.  I concur that our middle order is struggling and as you say without strength in depth the squad picks itself. I disagree with the comments made about young Brodrick, when he came in he looked aggressive and played a couple of nice shots.  This is in stark contrast to the far more experienced Smit and Wilson who if truth be told simply used up overs that Viljoen could have done with later.  

If I were Livingstone the Lancs captain I would have had words afterwards.  Had Viljoen been given an extra 3-4 overs we would have got there.  Their fielding in the last few overs was awful.  No balls, horrible fielding and at least 2 dropped dollies that my old mum would have caught.  Viljoen also smashed 2 straight sixes clean out of the ground that had me fearing for my 15 year old Fiesta in the car park.

Which all in all brings me on to my favourite rant.  In comparison we are tiny, the ground is lovely, the welcome warm and by golly do we bat out of our crease.  How anyone can be unhappy with taking the Yorkies to the last over with Willey, Bresnan, Plunkett, Lyth et al in their ranks is truly beyond me.

The footballing analogy is Exeter playing Manchester United week in week out and I can guarantee you one win in 100.  All of the cricketing giants have near enough 2 squads and bring in several one day specialists.  Out squad picks itself and the same players appear in  championship as appear in the one day stuff.

Leicestershire have had a woeful one day campaign and Northants not much better.  We are still  in with a shout of progressing on the final day and I am proud of the club and equally proud to wear my battered old DCCC baseball cap at whichever ground I find myself in.  I am not some delusioned old  guy who is blind to issues that appear easily fixable.  The order seems too set in stone, Viljoen should have been promoted on Sunday.  The excess of wicketkeepers is surely harming young Hussein and the lack of academy graduates making a sustained contribution is concerning.  One person I will never criticize is the ever willing Madsen.  This guy should be given the freedom of Derby and the keys to the castle.  That he has stayed when others would and have gone is remarkable loyalty.  He bowls, bats, fields like a tiger and sets a truly wonderful example to players such as Brodrick who if he turns out to have half Madsens career will have done well. 

Enjoy the victories, mourn the losses ( no one has smashed us out of the park) and if Notts do win today so they damn well should with Hales, Patel, Ball etc in their squad and in doing so should give them no great sense of achievement.  In my opinion it is up to the ECB to attempt to make it a level playing field to give us any sort of chance.

I am one proud supporter and win lose or draw today will continue to be so

Ill now get back in my box!  Rob Enderby, Essex 

Chezzy blue said...

I can't accept us not trying and laying down tools which we've done today though. Opening the bowling with Madsen is a pee take, virtually saying to Notts you've won we'll give you the match. The same happened against Hampshire in the T20 quarters last season. I fear for our season from here on in, time for a shake up.

Opening Bat said...

Been out all day and just come back in to see our game has finished before a 11.00 start would have done so very disappointed. Much sense said by Rob from essex but it does not soften the disappointment, probably more about who we lost to! I agree we seem to be too rigid in our set up, particularly in the batting, as we all have said the loss of Reece has totally destableised the team. If we analysed thing we would probably see that all our runs have really come from the openers and reece with the odd cameo elsewhere. I hate myself for saying this but my two favourite players Wayne and Matt have disappointed, they both come in and look fantastic, timing, middle of the bat, and power is all there, it looks all too easy so whether concentration goes because it all looks to easy I don't know, hopefully it returns for 20/20 and rest of 4 day. I am sure we will all complain but if we said before the season started we would be contending for quarter finals I think we would have been happy, the problem is we were beaten by 2, notts & Worcester, and probably lost to the roses boys. Hopefully someone to strengthen middle order for 20/20, and let's hope hosein in for rest of 4 day as I don't think Wilson or Smit have pulled up any trees, and certainly not batting wise.

Phil Scolari said...

A very average Leicestershire attack is an interesting comment after the performances of Abbas, Raine, Griffiths and Chappell this season.
Statistics show at the moment that they are anything but very average.

Peakfan said...

Yes Phil, but only Raine played against Derbyshire and it was that on which I based my comment. If he couldn't get in ahead of some of those, he won't.