First impressions are important and Fynn Hudson-Prentice certainly made a lasting one when Derbyshire gave him another crack at the professional game.
The former Sussex all-rounder seized his moment by scoring 99 on his debut against Middlesex at The Incora County Ground last year and then took a wicket with his first ball, the first to achieve the feat for the county since 1980.
Some strong performances in the Vitality Blast also vindicated Derbyshire’s decision to give the 23-year-old a contract and now he has set his sights on establishing himself as a top-order batsman.
Speaking to the ECB Reporter’s Network last month, Hudson-Prentice set out his ambitions for when cricket is able to resume.
“I was signed as a batsman who bowled a bit so I’m trying to get back to being a top-order batsman again and making sure I still do have the ambition to bat in the top four or five,” he said.
“Last year, a lot of times I ended up batting with the tail so I was playing a few more shots than I would normally do so it’s about putting the steps back in to batting for a long period of time rather than just playing a few aggressive shots.”
He is aware that will not be easy because of the competition in the squad and the pressure that can sometimes come in a second season.
“I would love to bat in the top five or six,” he said.
“That’s my long-term ambition and a short-term goal as well, to score runs and hundreds for Derbyshire and it’s harder to do that down at eight rather than at five. I’m just doing everything I can to push my case so I am in the frame to bat in the top six.
“Last season I came in and there wasn’t any expectation, it was like just go and express yourself and if it goes well, it goes well, but now I’ve played 15 to 20 games in all formats so it’s a little bit different.
“There’s more expectation, from myself more than anyone, in what I can achieve and what I want to achieve over the next two or three years. ”
A two-month spell in New Zealand during the winter plus some work back home has also helped his skills with the ball.
“I went to New Zealand for two months and played for Lancaster Park in 50-over competition club cricket, then came back and did the training with Derbyshire,” he said.
“It’s good to learn different skills, I went over to play a lot of white-ball cricket so I was just trying to get my action good early on and then trying to change it to bowl death balls, slower balls and yorkers.
“A few technical issues cropped up over the season last year which I wanted to iron out. We played quite a lot of white-ball cricket towards the back end of the season so it was trying to get my action back to where I wanted it to be so I could swing the ball again properly and try to gain a bit of pace as well.”
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