After hitting 1,358 runs across all competitions and leading the county to an improved campaign in 2017, Billy Godleman wants to see further progression this summer.
Now 28, Godleman has matured as a cricketer and by his own admission developed a strong winning mentality, with his focus on winning games for the Club, whilst personal milestones remain a bonus.
Derbyshire ended a drought of Specsavers County Championship wins last summer, recording three victories away from home in 2017, something which the Captain can partly attribute to a shared mind-set within the squad.
Godleman said: “Ultimately, that is what we all strive for when we come through the gates. We want to put in a performance that win games for the Club, and to be involved in that in 2017 was really important and pleasing.
“All players should, and we definitely have here, the mind-set that it is all well and good to achieve personal milestones, but it’s about putting a performance in that can swing a result in the favour of the Club. Context is very important in the reflection of people’s performances.
“Runs and wickets are the currency, but lying underneath that is a question of how many times did players contribute or win a game of cricket for the Club.
“This mentality is something that I have developed as I matured as a player. When I was younger, I didn’t think too much, I just went out and hit the ball.
“Then when I had some challenges, I just tried to find a way to make some runs to stay in the team. I wasn’t sure if I would be good enough to consistently perform at first-team level.
“But over the last few years, to be able to consistently perform across all forms and contribute to winning games for the Club is what gives me the most satisfaction when I walk off the field.”
Entering his third season as Captain and his second under the Club’s player-led coaching model, Godleman is clear on his leadership style and keen to draw on the knowledge of the senior players within the squad.
He said: “Everyone is a lot clearer on their roles within the model. Although I’m the Captain, I am fortunate to have the support of Kim [Barnett] as Cricket Advisor, Steve Stubbings as First XI Support Coach and Tony Palladino as Player/Coach, as well as the experience and knowledge of Mal Loye.
“Add to that the experience of the senior players, who are taking on their own coaching badges in their own time, and I’m really ably supported.
“I don’t just look to the senior players, I look to the guys across the board. Sometimes it’s best for me to react and make a decision on my own instinct, but when it’s appropriate I think it’s a wise approach to get as many perspectives as possible.”
Once again, the Royal London One-Day Cup comes in a block this summer, and Godleman wants to use the Club’s bolstered seam attack to be more competitive in the format in 2018.
He said: “From a personal point of view, having the format condensed is appreciated by the players.
“We’re aiming to make sure we continue to develop and improve from the good foundations we built last year. Making sure we progress is the most important thing.
“Bowling was evidently an area where we could have had more experience and skill. We missed Hardus [Viljoen] for two thirds of the competition and when he did play he was not fully fit.
“So when you could potentially have Ravi Rampaul, who is a very skilful white ball bowler, and Hardus, it’s very exciting.”
Similarly, the opener wants the Club to continue making progress in the game’s shortest form, building on a successful T20 Blast campaign in 2017.
“Again, it is to make sure we are making steps with our development. We made sure we were a difficult team to beat at home and we also beat some very good opposition away from home.
“We’ve got confidence in our ability to win games, but also we’ve had 12 months of lessons we can learn and apply and hopefully continue to improve on the quarter-final that we had last year.
“Having John Wright and his experience and pedigree as a coach was something that we were very fortunate to have.
“Combining that with the help off the field and the senior players in the squad, I think all combined the support of John’s knowledge is there and it was really helpful for us.”
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