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Dal praises 'incredible' dressing room

Wednesday 19th August 2020
Written by Stephen Martin
Photography by: David Griffin

Anuj Dal believes the example set by the experienced players in the Derbyshire side has been key to their strong start to the season. 

Derbyshire remain top of the North Group after drawing with Yorkshire, having picked up victories in their previous two games against Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire.

Dal was one of three half-centurions in Leeds, along with Matt Critchley and Billy Godleman and he remained unbeaten until the end as the side secured three batting points to retain top spot.

The all-rounder says that the link between young players and the senior members of the squad has been important so far, as those who are still developing feel confident in their ability.

“It’s incredible, the squad we have,” he told BBC Radio Derby.

“We don’t have that many senior players, but the ones we do have are such quality, they’re able to guide the younger players through, the guys who haven’t played much first-class cricket, myself included.

“It’s an incredible dressing room to be a part of, I’ve been in other dressing rooms where, as a younger player, you don’t feel wanted. You feel like you’re fighting for a spot and that puts a lot of pressure on you.

“It’s amazing how you feel you have the backing of the likes of Billy, Wayne, even Yoz and Critch. You don’t care about personal milestones, you just want to do well for the team and contribute to those performances.

“It’s incredible how the side has changed over the last couple of years, since Houghts [Dave Houghton] came in, and it’s not a side you want to miss out, because there’s some really good players in it.”

Having returned to the squad for the win over Leicestershire, Dal has shown a new, more positive side to his batting in red-ball cricket, something evidenced by his 14 boundaries at Emerald Headingley.

Having arrived at the crease with Derbyshire still 27 runs from avoiding the follow-on against Yorkshire, Dal and Critchley set about scoring a century partnership, which was key in remaining top of the group.

Dal says he was focused on scoring early in his innings, and is pleased to have put in a good performance for the team.

“Just before I went in, Houghts walked across to me and said ‘make sure we don’t have to follow-on’,” said Dal.

“It was an important point in the game, and batting at eight means you sometimes get into those tricky positions, but fortunately I was batting with Critch, who is really nice to bat with and keeps it simple.

“We just went with it a little bit, and when you’re approaching the close of play it can get a little bit nervy, but the thing I’ve taken from the Leicestershire innings is that if I can show a little bit intent at the start of my innings, it helps me go through the gears a bit better.

“Knowing that I could come back fresh after a night’s sleep, you always know it’s going to be easier the next morning. I’m just proud that I could get the team into a position where we’re still top of the league.”

Together, We Are All Derbyshire. Four-day cricket has returned you can follow all five of Derbyshire’s Bob Willis Trophy matches live on our match centre at derbyshireccc.com.

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