Derbyshire are often accused of many things – being small, insignificant, a poor relation – however they can never be accused of not being innovative or trying new and different things.
They tried and tested the Elite Coaching Structure under Elite Performance Director Graeme Welch, who left mid-way through last season, bringing about another change in structure at the club.
This latest change has seen John Wright named specialist T20 coach, the first county in the country to name a specialist coach just for the T20 competition.
Wright, who scored almost 15,000 runs for Derbyshire in his eleven years playing for the club between 1977 and 1988, will join up in June and work closely with new director of cricket Kim Barnett. His aim will be to focus solely on improving their fortunes in the shortest format of the game. It’s a competition which the club have yet to master, being one of only two county sides who have failed to progress to the showpiece finals day.
Wright though has had success in T20 cricket, winning potentially the greatest T20 showpiece, the IPL. Wright was with the Mumbai Indians in 2013 and went on to win the Champions’ League in the same year.
The wealth of knowledge Wright brings to the table has not gone un-noticed by Barnett, who said: “It’s a high-priority that we improve our Twenty20 performances and the new model allows John to give the NatWest T20 Blast competition his complete focus.”
Barnett will be hoping that Wright’s international experience coaching India and his native New Zealand will help him to achieve this goal.
Derbyshire supporters will not only be hoping he will be able to bring the same winning mentality to their club and finally give them their long overdue day out with the big boys, but also that he can bring with him the kind of player recruitment that fans dream of.
Wright currently holds the position of talent scout for the Mumbai Indians and with him having control over which players he signs for Derbyshire for the Natwest T20 Blast, he could be using his IPL contact book to secure Derbyshire overseas signings to make all the other counties turn green.
Where Wright’s eyes may look is his own business for now, but from looking at the side’s performances last year a strike bowler and a big-hitting batsman would be a fair guess. A left-field suggestion may be a wicket-taking spinner and when you consider Wright’s contacts in India, that may be a real possibility.
Barnett expressed his pleasure at bringing Wright to the club, stating: “We’re delighted to secure a coach of John’s quality and experience for this crucial role.
“It’s a unique position amongst the 18 counties in England, but it is not uncommon amongst teams in the major international Twenty20 competitions like the Big Bash, IPL and CPL.
“We could not have secured anybody with a higher pedigree than John to fill this new role. I could not be more pleased to get him back on board here and work with him. He is a fantastic strategist and will give us a lot of expertise technically and tactically.”