3/26/2018 0 Comments
By Harry Hill (@HarryHill96)
Where: The 3aaa County Ground, Derby
Ins: Ravi Rampaul (Surrey), James Kettleborough, Duanne Olivier (SA, first half of season)
Outs: Tom Taylor (Leicestershire), Shiv Thakor, Tom Milnes, Ben Cotton, Tom Wood, Rob Hemmings, Greg Cork
Key man: Wayne Madsen
Last Season: County Championship 8th, One-Day Cup: 7th, T20 Blast: 2nd - Q/F
2018 odds: County Championship Division two winners: 20/1, RLODC: 25/1, T20: 25/1 - Odds powered by Oddschecker.com
Derbyshire supporters can take plenty of pride from last season, particularly with a spectacular run to the quarter-finals of the T20 Blast after finishing 2nd in the North Group. Moreover, some fine September form in the County Championship with two home wins over Sussex and Gloucestershire saw Billy Godleman’s men finish 8th in Division Two. Looking ahead to this season, Derbyshire begin their campaign at home to recently relegated Middlesex on the 20th April.
Over the winter, there was the surprise that four young fast bowlers, Greg Cork, Tom Taylor, Tom Milnes, and Ben Cotton have been released despite the latter three having spent time as part of England’s pace bowlers programme. However, they all had limited opportunities and Kim Barnett has looked to trim his squad to a more manageable size. There have been a couple of notable incomings to the bowling department as Ravi Rampaul joins from Surrey and the impressive Duanne Olivier will be available for the first half of the season. The tall and fast South African is expected to take the new ball with compatriot Hardus Viljoen in a dangerous looking opening bowling partnership. In addition, James Kettleborough bolsters the batting department, after impressing with three back-to-back centuries in minor counties cricket last season with Bedfordshire. Disappointingly for Derbyshire supporters, however, is the recent injury to Mitchell Santner, the exciting Kiwi all-rounder was due to replace Olivier as the overseas player for the second half of the season, before injuring his knee; ruling him out of action for between six to nine months.
One to watch is Hamidullah Qadri, the young spinner was the first player to appear in the County Championship born in the 21st century. In just three Championship matches last season, the 17-year old took 10 wickets at 28.80, including a five-wicket haul on debut against Glamorgan last June. Another youngster to look out for is Callum Brodrick, who scored 52 on his first-class debut against the West Indies last season. Although yet to feature in the County Championship, he did appear in the middle-order for most of the T20 Blast campaign last season.
Noticeable from last season was Derbyshire’s lack of bonus points in the Championship, with the lowest number of bowling points and only Glamorgan had fewer batting points in Division Two. I worry if Derbyshire have the bowling depth for the season ahead, especially after Olivier leaves the county late June. 33-year-old Ravi Rampaul and 34-year-old Tony Palladino may be required to do a lot of the hard overs once the new ball stops swinging.
As to whether Derbyshire can repeat the success they enjoyed last year in the T20 Blast will rely a lot on Wayne Madsen, who took 13 wickets in addition to his 526 runs at an impressive average of 47.82 last year. The Falcons will miss the loss of Imran Tahir and Matt Henry who were key with the ball last year, taking 22 wickets between them in 14 matches they appeared in. In the County Championship, Derbyshire will be looking to recreate the end of season momentum, and look to find a first away win since beating Northants in August 2015.
Where I think they will finish:
County Championship Division Two: 7th
One-Day Cup: 6th (North Group)
T20 Blast: 5th (North Group)
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All Charlie Jennings County Championship David Bowden Derbyshire Durham Essex Glamorgan Gloucestershire Hampshire Harry Hil Harry Hill Hector Cappelletti Jamie Ramage Kent Lancashire Leicestershire Mark Kidger Matthew Nichols Matt Layton Middlesex Northamptonshire Nottinghamshire RLODC Season Previews Somerset Surrey Sussex T20 VFTO Predicts Warwickshire Worcestershire Yorkshire