Derbyshire named overseas batsman Hamish Rutherford vice-captain last week, to complete the new leadership structure on the field for the club.
Rutherford, however, would probably not have been expecting to be pushed into service as soon as he has been. The news this week that Billy Godleman has fractured his thumb, and will miss the first weeks of the season, will see Rutherford lead the side for the first time away at Gloucestershire on Sunday.
The break in Godleman’s thumb, caused by a throw down before the Durham University match, is likely to keep Godleman out for the first three Championship games, but Elite Performance Director Graeme Welch does not expect his new captain to be out for much longer:
“It’s not ideal but thankfully it’s not a bad break, so it could have been worse. It was just a freak accident that can happen at any time, but Billy is actually quite optimistic about it.
“He’s a hard man who will be wanting to get out there as soon as he can but, in the meantime, it gives someone else an opportunity.”
That opportunity to open the innings with Ben Slater may go to the stand in captain. The other option is Chesney Hughes, who will be hoping for runs in the second innings of the current game against the students from Durham to push his claim.
Whichever option the coaches choose, they will be hoping that Godleman can be back as soon as possible to lead the side and score the volume of runs he did last season.
Godleman will be aiming to lead his side for the first time at home against Sussex on the 8th of May and he will hoping to be leading a side who has had a successful start to the season, as they had in 2012 when they were promoted to Division One of the County Championship.
With seven county championship games in the first seven weeks of the season, momentum will be vital and after this period the team will have a much clearer picture of what they will need to do to be promoted. Godleman will be hoping he returns to the fold with his side riding high and full of positivity, which he can carry on for the rest of the season.