The benefit of a batsman like Wayne Madsen

This season will be a very busy one for Derbyshire’s talismanic batsman Wayne Madsen. On top of scoring the bulk of runs that is expected of him, he has also been awarded a benefit by Derbyshire for this season and will be busy with events which have already started. Throw in the birth of his first child and Madsen will definitely have his hands full in 2017!

Madsen is not however worried by the burden and how it may affect his form – a form which has seen him score over 1000 First Class runs for the last six seasons for his adopted club, saying “No, it doesn’t worry me at all, yes there’s going to be a lot on, but I’ve had to deal with a lot before, I’ve had the captaincy before and that entails a lot too and I don’t have that anymore.”

The success that Madsen has achieved whilst being as busy as he has been must surely put Derbyshire fans mind’s at rest, that the often seen benefit year related dip in form will not be seen at the 3aaa County Ground this year. Madsen was also keen to put minds at rest that the benefit is not a retirement gift from the club to him, “No not a retirement gift at all, I feel very honoured to have been awarded the benefit, but it’s not the case, not at all, I’ve signed a deal until 2019 and I intend to play longer than that.” That will be music to the ears of Derbyshire supporters.

Madsen has earned the respect and love of the Derbyshire cricketing faithful through the sheer volume of runs he’s scored and the wickets he’s taken, an area of his game he admits he has under utilised, “I love bowling, I really do and it’s something I probably should have done more of, I probably under bowled myself, but if I can do a job for the team then I will, and love doing it.”

Those runs and wickets have been achieved for a side who, the 2012 season aside, have been struggling for success as a whole, finishing in the lower reaches of the division they have been playing in. When asked what drove him to keep on succeeding he was clear on what motivates him and drives him on saying “playing here, playing with this bunch of guys and playing for Derbyshire and bringing success to this great club, plus personally I do want to play international cricket and I have always wanted to, I feel that if I keep performing well for Derbyshire and get us up to Division One then I have a chance of that and keep improving my own game.” With the weight of runs Madsen has scored for Derbyshire, if England do come knocking then it will definitely be deserved and a proud moment for the club.

Madsen has had many proud moments playing for Derbyshire, lifting the County Championship Division Two title in 2012 was one he identified saying “that was up there with the proudest moments, winning trophies is what you play sport for and doing that was fantastic.”

For a team that has had little success Madsen has many individual moments too: he now has the third most centuries by any batsmen for the club with 23 and wanted to point to one which meant the most for him saying “The 231 with Tom Poyton in 2012, the significance of that knock, at the time, the match situation, everything around that knock made it special.”

Madsen has had the privilege of playing with some great players over the years, in Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Hashim Amla and Chris Rogers – who he identified as the best player he has played with for Derbyshire “Bucky (Rogers) was consistent and taught me a lot, looking at performances for Derbyshire, Chris just really stands out.”

Madsen was also keen to look to the future and the players coming through the ranks now and pointed to two for Derbyshire fans to keep their eyes on this year, identifying Ben Slater and Will Davis as bright prospects for the club in the future saying “I’ve got high hopes for Slats as a player. He may be a bit older but he’s young in his career and the way he plays, he is certainly one to look out for and Will has burst onto the scene and is a very exciting prospect for the future.”

If Madsen’s runs and wickets haven’t endeared him to the Derbyshire supporters then his demeanour and friendliness have. In a world where we are told nice guys finish last, if ever I am called to argue against that point, I will have Wayne Madsen as my example. He always has time for supporters around the ground young and old and is happy to talk cricket and life with everyone, if anyone asks he will always try and help. With this in mind It was no surprise when he announced that he would be splitting his benefit money with Derby Hospitals charity, the PCA Benevolent Fund and Lungisisa Indlela Village fund back home in his native South Africa. The sign of a great role model both on and off the field.

Madsen’s benefit events have already started with respected cricket journalist Elizabeth Ammon hosting an evening with Madsen at Derby University, where he talked about his life in cricket and answered questions from the audience. He also has an opening black tie dinner coming up and many other events planned for his benefit. Madsen wants to be different from other beneficiaries and not just wheel out the same old events seen before, when asked what plans he had he replied “I love the Peak District and I’d love to do something there, maybe a six a side tournament at Chatsworth House where they have a cricket ground with a dinner afterward, that would be pretty special.” A full list of Madsen’s benefit events can be found at http://waynemadsentestimonial.co.uk/

It is not every club who can boast a player of Maden’s class both on and off the field and Derbyshire are very lucky to have such a consistent performer on whom they can rely. This season will be tough for Madsen juggling the weight of expectation of his runs, his new born daughter and also the extra events taking place. However I’m sure both he and Derbyshire CCC will see the benefit of Wayne Madsen.

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