Derbyshire Season Preview 2024

Derbyshire Season Preview 2024

Derbyshire always seem on the verge of making something happen, but then it doesn’t! In Mickey Arthur they have a highly regarded coach, who will undoubtedly get results if given the resources he needs. Last season he had the distraction of also working as Pakistan’s director of men’s cricket, but that role was terminated in January and Derbyshire will benefit from his full attention.

2023 brought little cheer to the Derbyshire faithful as they failed to win a game in the County Championship, missed out on qualification for the knock-out stages of the Blast and managed just two wins in the One Day cup. Things were not helped when in July club captain, Leus du Plooy announced he would be moving to Middlesex at the end of the season. He will be a big loss, having scored more than 5,000 runs across all formats since joining the county in 2019 and finishing last season with 1236 championship runs at 82.40. Exciting young pace bowler George Scrimshaw also left the club, making the short trip south to Northampton. He made his England ODI debut against Ireland at the end of last summer and his loss will make a dent in Derbyshire’s white ball aspirations.

The good news is that there have been a number of new acquisitions, starting off with Glamorgan’s captain David Lloyd, who will take over the reins as Derbyshire’s club captain and lead them on the field in the Championship. He has had a tough couple of years at Glamorgan because of injuries, having moved up to open the innings in the absence of suitable alternatives.

Derbyshire have also had issues with who should open. They started last season with Billy Godleman and Pakistan’s Haider Ali, but a lack of runs from Godleman led to him being replaced by Harry Came and then Ali moved down the order and all-rounder Luis Reece took up the mantle. The move seemingly invigorated Reece as he finished the season with 1048 runs at 87.33, including centuries in both innings of the last match against Glamorgan. Came also prospered with 695 runs at 43.43 and it seems likely that Lloyd will come in at three, where he batted in the one day games he played for Derbyshire last season on loan. In the meantime, Godleman has been released after 11 years at the club. Wayne Madsen was also in the runs with 779 at 45.82 and has been rewarded with a new two-year contract that will extend his time at the county to 16 full seasons. They have also benefited from the performances of wicket-keeper Brooke Guest, who has cemented his place in the middle order.

Derbyshire’s problem is in the bowling department, lacking the strike bowlers to take 20 wickets in a game. This was highlighted by the fact that their leading wicket-taker in the Championship last summer was off-spinner Alex Thomson, with 31 at 35.83. Sam Connors was unable to reproduce the 2022 return that earned him an England Lions call-up, finishing the season with 27 championship wickets at 45.03.

Pat Brown has been brought in from Worcestershire to help strengthen the attack. He played in the last three Championship matches of 2023, returning 3/190. The pace bowling problems have also been addressed through the overseas signings that have been announced for the first part of the season. Pakistan’s left armer Mohammad Amir will play in the first half of the County Championship campaign and the T20 Blast group stages. Amir had been identified as a teenager by Wasim Akram as a special talent and made his Test debut aged 19. However things all changed when he became involved in a spot-fixing scam and was banned from cricket for five years. He returned to the game in 2015, but despite taking 266 first class wickets at 22.63, he has struggled to deliver on the Test match stage, making his last appearance in that format back in 2019. In recent years he has spent most of his time playing T20 cricket, where undoubtedly he remains a quality performer.

The other overseas recruit is New Zealand’s Blair Tickner, who will also play in the first nine Championship games, as well as eight Blast fixtures. Tickner did not play a first class game until the age of 22 and at 29 made his Test debut against England, just over a year ago. His ability to bowl at up to 90 mph should help give the Derbyshire attack the bite it needs. It waits to be seen whether the services of Amir and Tickner can be duplicated in the latter half of the season.

Alongside Thomson, Scotland’s Mark Watt has been the other main spin threat, with his slow left arm orthodox, but he has not been retained, primarily due to Scotland’s involvement in the T20 World Cup, which takes place throughout June. He has been replaced by 38-year-old all-rounder Samit Patel, who left Trent Bridge at the end of the season after playing 629 games for Nottinghamshire over 22 years. He has signed a two year deal and will captain the white ball teams. They will be hoping Patel’s vast T20 experience can help them to the latter stages of the Blast and their chances will be further boosted by the recruitment of batters Ross Whitely and Aneurin Donald, both moving across from Hampshire. Whiteley came through Derbyshire’s academy and played a key part in them securing the County Championship Division Two title in 2012. He went on to play for Worcestershire and Hampshire, winning Blast titles with both sides. Donald completed his move to Hampshire from Glamorgan in 2019 , but has struggled for a regular first team place, particularly in the Championship side, because of the strength of their squad and injury problems. However, he played a significant role in getting Hampshire to the One-Day final last year, scoring 349 runs at an average of 43.62 and a healthy strike rate of 126.44.

Key player

Luis Reece was undoubtedly Derbyshire’s player of the season for 2023, moving to the top of the order in the Championship team and passing the 1000-run mark, as well as taking 20 wickets at 30.60 with his left arm seam. This is all the more surprising given he was not selected at the start of the season. He was their leading run scorer in the One-Day cup and put in solid performances with bat and ball in the Blast. He has been given a new two year contract and Derbyshire will be hoping for more of the same in 2024.

One to watch

Harry Came is a batter who likes to play his shots, but has been pressed into service at the top of the order. He has made a promising start, scoring his maiden first class century in his second game as opener and finishing the season with 695 runs at 43.43, including another century. He scored 317 runs in the One-Day cup at an average of 39.62 and a healthy strike rate of 99.37 and forced his way into the T20 side, having captained Derbyshire seconds to their T20 Blast title. He has also been given a two year extension on his contract and Derbyshire supporters will be hoping he will be scoring runs at the club for a lot longer.

Overseas signings: Mohammad Amir (Pakistan, first half of season), Blair Tickner (New Zealand, start of season until early July)

Ins: David Lloyd (Glamorgan), Pat Brown (Worcestershire), Aneurin Donald (Hampshire), Samit Patel (Nottinghamshire), Ross Whiteley (Hampshire),

Outs: Leus du Plooy (Middlesex), George Scrimshaw (Northamptonshire), Billy Godleman (released), Mark Watt (released), Tom Wood (released), Archie Harrison (released), Mattie McKiernan (retired)

How will they fare: Some excellent signings mean Derbyshire are far more of a threat with the ball this season. The also have some proven performers with the bat who have the potential to post scores with which the bowlers can work. We expect to see a few more Championship wins this summer. Under the leadership of Patel they should also be more competitive in the white ball competitions.

Opening fixture: CC vs Gloucestershire on April 5 at the County Ground, Derby

Season Odds (SkyBet):

County Championship – 10/1

T20 Blast – N/A

One-Day Cup – N/A


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