Greatest Derbyshire XI: The Openers

With the vote for Derbyshire’s Greatest XI open, we take a closer look at the candidates who could make the side. 

There are six openers to choose from, but only two can make the Greatest XI, and with more than 112,000 runs between them, there’s plenty of competition.

But which of these players take your opening slots?

Kim Barnett (1979-1998): 

Key stats:  36,212 runs, 66 centuries, four England caps.

Barnett is the club’s all-time leading run-scorer, after making 36,212 runs with 66 hundreds. He struck 1,000 runs in a season 18 times, featuring in 149 century partnerships. Barnett’s highest score was 239 and his best bowling figures were 6-28. He won the 1981 NatWest Trophy, 1990 RAL Sunday League and 1993 Benson and Hedges Cup, and was captain for 13 seasons.

Peter Bowler (1988-1994)

Key stats: 14,393 runs, 24 centuries.

Bowler scored 14,393 runs with 24 hundreds. He hit 1,000 runs in a season six times and featured in 81 century partnerships. His highest score was 241, while he won the 1990 RAL Sunday League and 1993 Benson and Hedges Cup.

Michael Di Venuto (2000-2003, 2005-2006)

Key stats: 11,316 runs, 27 centuries.

Di Venuto scored 11,316 runs for the club in spells spanning 2000-2006, with the Australia international making 27 centuries. He scored 1,000 runs in a season five times and featured in 40 century stands, while his highest score was 230.

Arnold Hamer (1950-1960)

Key stats: 15,277 runs, 19 centuries.

Hamer scored 15,277 runs, including 19 hundreds, and a top-score of 227, while he managed 1,000 runs in a season ten times. He also featured in 40 century partnerships.

Denis Smith (1927-1952)

Key stats: 20,516 runs, 30 centuries, two England caps.

Smith scored 20,516 runs with 30 hundreds for Derbyshire, and passed 1,000 runs in a season 12 times. His highest score was 225, while he featured in 65 century partnerships and won the 1936 County Championship.

John Wright (1977-1988)

Key stats: 14,969 runs, 31 centuries.

Wright struck 14,969 runs for Derbyshire and made 31 centuries, with a top-score of 190, on the way to passing 1,000 runs in six seasons. The New Zealand Test Cricketer featured in 62 century partnerships for the club and won the 1981 NatWest Trophy.


Heritage Officer and Statistician, David Griffin explains the process and the criteria for selection.

The structure of the XI is based on historical selection to ensure there is depth in batting, pace and spin bowling. Only one overseas player permitted, with the overseas player that receives the most votes being selected for the overall XI.

The 40 nominees have been selected based on their playing records for Derbyshire with a minimum of five seasons’ service. All statistical information given includes the individual’s performances in all formats of the game – first-class, List A and Twenty20 – up until the end of the 2019 season.

The candidates are listed in alphabetical order and all relevant statistical information is provided to assist with your decision-making.

Click HERE to vote for your Greatest XI.

Join us in 2020

Celebrate a historic 150th year of Derbyshire with 2020 Club Membership and experience the drama, emotion and action-packed home cricket for just £169.

Membership Categories Early Bird Full Price
2020 season Until 31st Jan From 1st Feb
Club Membership £169 £189
Junior Membership £20 £20
Age 16-21/Student £55 £55
Pattonair Executive Club £495 £525
Pattonair Executive Club & Partner £725 £749
Car Park Pass £65 £65

You can enjoy all regular-season home cricket, as well as a host of other benefits such as FREE entry to selected County Championship fixtures at other counties and discounts with 2020 Club Membership for just £169.

But act fast, as the early bird price is only available until Friday 31 January, so buy now to save £20.

Join us in 2020! Derbyshire County Cricket Club celebrates its historic 150-year Anniversary in 2020 and you can be part of a full summer of cricket with Club Membership. Packages on sale now from £169 if purchased before February.

Buy Membership