The mark of a top batsman is the ability to play to the situation and Billy Godleman demonstrated his versatility with a career-best performance in the Royal London One-Day Cup.
Although the general perception of Derbyshire’s captain is one of a patient accumulator, he proved he was capable of engaging the turbo in last season’s T20 campaign, so his 137 from 116 balls at Edgbaston last week was not out of character.
It was also vindication of the work put in during the winter with Cricket Advisor and former captain Kim Barnett, who provided Godleman with some tips to make his batting style more positive.
“I’d heard how good he was as a teenager but what I saw in him, especially when he got the captaincy, there was a tendency to over-egg the responsibility of it all in that he was batting for everybody and mustn’t play any shots,” Barnett explained.
“So there was a mental aspect but also in technical terms he didn’t have the set-up to enable him to play with more panache or more style so I’ve been working with him to open his mind to that really, and say remember what you were and what you could be.
“There’s a flair element and an enjoyment and he works so hard at his game that once you give him information, he just hammers it.
“What I can see now is someone who is a bit more Gower-esque if you like, someone who is hitting the ball all round the park, more balanced, less defensive and less prone to getting stuck in.
“Of course, he’ll always have that element if he has to bat that way but I would like to see him play with a more attacking style.”
Barnett also believes it will help Godleman become an even more dangerous batsman in T20 cricket.
“I just felt from the base he was playing from technically it was more haphazard in that he decided ‘I must hit the next ball for four’ which makes it a lot harder because you’re playing by numbers.
“What I hope after what we’ve worked on this winter is that he can go out and play proper cricket shots and that will make him a better T20 player. I hope he thinks that because he’s worked phenomenally hard.”
Godleman, who leads Derbyshire into the first of three home games in eight days starting with Durham on Wednesday, appreciates Barnett’s input.
“The main things we’ve worked on are trying to create some body positions at the crease which enable me to open up more areas to score,” said Godleman.
“It’s always a great opportunity to speak cricket with Kim and in my position as Club Captain that happens on a daily basis, and I’m very fortunate in regards to picking his brains and hearing his thoughts. Also to have the chance of having a one-to-one basis with Kim’s time, coaching and expertise has been brilliant for my personal development.”
Royal London One-Day Cup is back at The 3aaa County Ground! Derbyshire will host four 50-over fixtures in May and June. Buy your match tickets in advance & save.
Derbyshire vs Durham – Wednesday 23 May
Derbyshire vs Leicestershire Foxes – Friday 25 May
Derbyshire vs Yorkshire Vikings – Wednesday 30 May
Derbyshire vs Lancashire Lightning – Sunday 3 June