Two week ago when Graeme Welch suddenly resigned at Derbyshire, many names were mentioned as to who could or should take over, one name which was not really mentioned was John Sadler, however that is the name the board initially trusted to take over and have now entrusted the team to until the end of the season.
Sadler, who has been with the club’s coaching staff since January 2014, has had success since taking over from Welch, with the side recording four consecutive victories across the two white ball formats.
This must have helped the board to make a decision to allow Sadler to take control for the rest of the season, and for them to realise they did not need to bring in a new coach right away, if at all.
Chairman Chris Grant alluded to this when he said: “The Board have spent some time considering our options and identifying a structure that will build on the foundations already in place.
“We are in the fortunate position to have John already here at the Club.
“He has worked with all the players and staff over the last two years and is highly respected in the game.
Sadler is one of the youngest level four coaches in the country but has built a fine reputation as a coach, following his career
which saw him represent Derbyshire, Yorkshire and also Leicestershire – with whom he won the T20 cup twice.
The club will be hoping that this knowledge and experience of the shortest form of the game will be passed on to the side as they push to reach their first ever finals day this year.
Grant was again keen to point out that results were key to Sadler staying: “The focus now is to ensure that the team continues to perform in this busy period of cricket. We have started well in both the NatWest T20 Blast and Royal London One-Day Cup competitions and we are returning to four-day cricket next week.”
This will be the first time Sadler has had overall control of a First Class county, but he will not be short of help and advice, if he needs it, with his captains and coaching team around him, he will also be able to draw on help and advice from Kevin Dean who is on the club’s board Cricket Advisory Director, along with newly elected Club President, Kim Barnett.
Sadler in effect now has the longest job interview any of us have ever had, if he shows between now and the end of the season to prove he is the man to lead Derbyshire for not only the remainder of this season, but also for the years to come, he may be in receipt of a more permanent position offer.
What will be enough for Sadler to get the job on a permanent basis though is a matter for discussion; what will be classed as success for Sadler and the team from here is up for debate.
The County Championship season is now realistically over for the club, with only one club promoted this season, the poor start which saw Welch resign has ended all but the most positive hopes of promotion this season for the club.
The success will need to come in white ball cricket, where quarter final places in both formats you would think were musts to see Sadler continue.
If the initial form that Sadler has shown under his new captain Alex Hughes is anything to go by it could well come to fruition.
Following the match against the Birmingham Bears on Friday night, Bears director of cricket Dougie Brown complimented: “It was a lot tighter than it should have been but credit to Derbyshire, they stuck in there and bowled really well in the middle period. We maybe could have been more clinical with our parternships but that’s T20 cricket.
Quarter final places in both competitions are realistic now and should be something for the club to aim for and surpass, hopefully reaching the club’s first ever Natwest T20 Blast finals day.
With the players he has at the club, his coaching team and the support of the board, Sadler has all the tools at his disposal as he embarks on his elongated job interview.
If Sadler can guide the club to Edgbaston on 20th August then I would be very surprised if he is not in charge for the start of the 2017 Season.