Positive environment key for Conners

Monday 27th July 2020
& News
Written by Stephen Martin
Photography by: David Griffin

Sam Conners believes the environment created by the Derbyshire coaching staff has helped him improve as a bowler, as he looks ahead to the 2020 campaign. 

The young fast bowler committed his future to Derbyshire last week, signing a contract extension to keep him at The Incora County Ground until the end of the 2022 season.

At 21, Conners is one of a number of promising young bowlers that are developing within the squad, and he feels that working with the likes of Dave Houghton, Steve Kirby and Dominic Cork is helping to improve his game.

“One of the things I was really excited about when I signed my first contract was being able to work with a full-time bowling coach,” said Conners.

“The connection I have with Kirbs is brilliant, he knows me inside and out, with all my bowling traits and checkpoints that have really helped me.

“With Corky being around for this period as well, not just with the white ball, it’s really helped because of the pointers he’s able to get across and all of the experience he has.”

Having made his First-Class debut for the club last year, Conners’ playing time was limited due to injury.

The youngster says that the shortened 2020 season will provide good opportunities for the younger players in the squad, and he’s eager to make his mark in the middle.

“Heading into this season, after a strong winter, it was quite frustrating to know it was going to get cut short,” said Conners.

“But now, knowing that we’re going to play some cricket and how tightly-packed the fixtures are, there’s going to be a big squad rotation, especially with the bowlers.

“It’ll be good to play some matches and just gain some more experience, so I can hopefully go into these next two years and play more games and do well.”

Assistant Coach (Bowling Lead), Steve Kirby, has regularly praised players such as Conners, Michael Cohen and Anuj Dal for their performances in training since the end of last season.

However, Conners’ talent has also caught the eye of England’s all-time leading wicket taker in Test cricket, James Anderson.

“Sam has developed so much over the last two years and we are very excited about the promise he’s showing. He’s developed a better understanding of his bowling action which has helped him be more consistent.

“He has the tools to move the ball both ways at genuine pace. He has everything he needs as well as the  desire to make it in first-class cricket.

“It’s great to see local players come through the system and play in the first team, I have high hopes for him, and a great accolade for Sam was when we played Lancashire last year.

“Jimmy Anderson said ‘who is this lad, Kirbs?  He is going to be alright him’, that’s as a good a rap as you can get from anybody.”

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