All-rounder Alex Hughes believes Derbyshire have the ability to progress and compete at the business end of this year’s Vitality Blast.
The 27 year-old was the club’s leading wicket-taker in last year’s campaign with 17, a Derbyshire record-levelling tally, at an average of 19.05 and best figures of 4-42.
Hughes is excited to get back in front of the big home crowds, with the competition getting underway against Yorkshire Vikings at Queen’s Park on Saturday 20 July, in what is expected to be a third-straight sell-out.
He said: “The T20 competition is always a good opportunity to showcase your skills so it’s always exciting as a player.
“We’ve had good crowds here at Derby in the last few years and we’ve played some really good cricket at times so hopefully we can push for a quarter-final spot and see what happens from there.
“It is always the aim to make it to the knockout stages and Finals Day, but we know that there is a lot of tough games so you can’t take anything for granted.
“What we have got to do is show up and perform how we know that we can, like we have done for the last few years. If we can, we know we’ll give ourselves a chance in the competition and to get to the pinnacle of Finals Day.”
The Cricket Derbyshire Academy in partnership with the University of Derby graduate also highlighted the importance of staying ahead of the curve in the shortest format, and he hailed the impact of the new coaching set-up at Derbyshire.
Hughes added: “As the game moves on, you have to move on with it so finding new slower balls and different variations is key.
“I’m always trying to work hard on different deliveries in training to try and perfect them so hopefully I’ll have a couple of new balls this year.
“I know it’s probably a bit of a cliché answer, but the preparations are going brilliantly. With the new faces, Houghts [David Houghton] and Kirbs [Steve Kirby] joining Mal [Loye], it has been really enjoyable.
“The different personalities and the different things that they bring to training is great and I’m learning a lot of new things.
“The new coaches have been amazing. We only really had Stubbo [Steve Stubbings] last year coaching us, and although he did a fantastic job, to have new faces to learn off has been brilliant.
“For me, having Kirbs in as a bowling coach has given me a few more ideas with my bowling so it can only help us as a team.
“Then to have Corky [Dominic Cork] announced as T20 Head Coach last week brings in more new ideas and hopefully he can have a great impact after working with the lads the last two seasons.”
Vitality Blast is back! Tickets for this summer’s biggest matches go on general sale on Monday 4 March. Click HERE to register your interest now and buy before anyone else.