Derbyshire yesterday announced a mixture of continuity and change that they hope will lead them to success on the field, mirroring their successes off the field. If you think this sounds like the ultimate oxymoron then you’re right, but the announcement of a two-year contract extension for Elite Performance Director Graeme Welch and the appointment of Billy Godleman as captain for four-day cricket is just that.
The securing of the highly regarded Welch for two more years is extremely good news for the club and its players. The opportunity to continue to work with a coach regarded as one of the best on the county circuit by many, including the ECB which saw him involved in the Lions tour to Dubai this Winter, will be a mouth watering prospect for all the players.
None more so than new four-day captain Billy Godleman, whose turn around in form following his move to Derbyshire, and since working with Welch, has been superb. He scored 1000 first class runs for the first time in his career last season, making three consecutive centuries in the process.
The transformation for a player, who has always shown great potential throughout his career but never fully realised it, was as impressive as the similar transformation of Mark Footitt under Welch’s tutelage. Godleman’s transformation last season was not only with weight of runs, but also in responsibility. He was named vice captain and lead the side on the three occasions when Madsen was injured.
For a player who was punished by his former club for disciplinary issues this shows a great turn around and one of which he should be very proud, as he should be of the three games he captained, winning one, drawing one and only losing to eventual promoted side Lancashire. Godleman and everyone at the club will be hoping that this form will continue now that he is permanently in post.
Godleman secured the permanent post following Wayne Madsen’s recent decision to step down after he signed a three-year contract extension. Madsen can step aside with his head held high, after leading the side to their first silverware since their Benson and Hedges cup triumph in 1993, (another oxymoron as the Benson and Hedges cup was Gold) and leading a side that went from also-rans to a side that demanded respect and were genuine contenders in the longer form of the game.
It is clear Madsen does not see relinquishing the captaincy as the end of his time at Derbyshire, saying: “It’s been a privilege and an honour to have led the Club for the last four years. As I approach my eighth season with Derbyshire, I am extremely excited by the Club’s vision, the continued development of our young talented cricketers on the field and the superb off-field facilities.
“I look forward to continuing to act as an ambassador for the Club both on and off the field and playing big part in bringing success to Derbyshire in the forthcoming seasons.”
Derbyshire are a club that crave success in every aspect of their business, be that off the field in the way the club is run or producing home-grown player, and on the field in winning matches. They will be hoping that the continuity and change approach of this off-season will bring all those things.
New four-day captain Godleman is clearly striving for this, saying about his appointment: “It’s a huge honour to be appointed captain. It’s an exciting time to lead the Club with the strides we are making both on and off the field.
“I look forward to the opportunity to lead the side as we take the Club forward and push for four-day success. Everyone involved in the club from players, coaches, members, board members and supporters will be hoping that Godleman and Welch can bring the desired effect to the club.”