When you are looking to buy a new outfit which is a perfect fit, you need three things – a Taylor, some Cotton and some Matt-erial. That’s exactly what Derbyshire County Cricket Club got themselves this week as Tom Taylor, Ben Cotton and Matt Critchley signed new extended deals for the club.
Cotton and Taylor have signed until the end of the 2018 season and Critchley for a further two years, thus keeping three of the clubs most exciting bowling prospects for the foreseeable future and giving whoever is in control of the club next year, be it John Sadler or a new head coach, the platform for a classic bowling attack.
All three have progressed through the Derbyshire Academy and have had experience of the first team in both red and while ball cricket but are all still young – Cotton being 22, Taylor 21 and Critchley 20. All have talent and potential in abundance and with their careers ahead of them, they have time to develop and grow into their potential, the same way a suit becomes better fitting the more you wear it.
That talent has been recognised by people within the club but also outside of the club too, most impressively by the ECB, who chose Taylor to be part of the Potential England Performance Programme last winter. Critchley is also on the ECB’s radar, having spent time with the England Lions last winter and, following his successful summer, will travel to Lords next week to take part in a specialist spin bowling programme lead by the legendary leg-spin bowler Shane Warne. He will then fly to Australia to play his cricket there over the Winter.
Their potential is also clearly recognised within the club too, with Head Coach John Sadler saying: “We have moved to secure the long-term futures of a number of our key players in recent weeks, and the contract extensions for Ben and Tom are no different.
“They are both exciting fast bowlers who have the ability to win games for Derbyshire – and we must remember they’re still only 22 and 21 respectively. Both players will play important roles in our bowling unit as they continue to learn and improve their own games.
“Matt is an exciting young talent who has already displayed exceptional skill with both bat and ball, and match winning qualities. He has a real hunger to learn and continues to get better and better. At just 20, his potential is endless and he will be someone we can build our team around for years to come.”
The last thing Sadler says there is perhaps the most telling – ‘for years to come’. A four-year contract is very rare in modern cricket, and giving Critchley a contract that long shows great faith in the youngster, not just in his skill but in his temperament. After all, this is the player who scored 137 not out on his home debut.
The players themselves are clearly also looking forward to their future at the club. All were keen to point out their commitment to the club and the exciting prospects for the future.
Critchley said: “I’m delighted to commit my long-term future to Derbyshire. The club has big ambitions and I’m looking forward to playing my part. All the lads are working extremely hard and we want to continue to learn and improve.
“We have a lot of young talent who are all hungry for success and I’m confident we can achieve it here at Derbyshire.”
With their Taylor, Cotton and Matt-erial (apologies for that part of the analogy, but Critchley just didn’t fit in with anything), they have the beginnings of a perfectly suited bowling outfit for next season, with the pace of Cotton and Taylor coupled with the flight, guile and spin of Critchley.
We will have to wait and see if the club accessorise the outfit with further signings, but if not, then the club have a very decent looking get-up ready for next season.