Assistant Coach (Bowling Lead), Steve Kirby, says Dustin Melton’s new deal with Derbyshire is a testament to his hard work and resilience throughout a testing period.
The fast bowler, who is returning for the 2021 season as an overseas player as he works towards becoming England qualified, was amongst Derbyshires’s top-performing bowlers in the Bob Willis Trophy, claiming eight wickets in three appearances, at an average of 29.12, including best figures of 4-22.
Along with fellow developing quicks Sam Conners, Michael Cohen and Ben Aitchison, Melton will be looking to build on his improvement next year, something that Kirby is confident that he will do.
However, the coach says that Melton’s impact on the squad goes far beyond what he can produce on the pitch, as his desire to work is something the team can feed off.
“We’re extremely pleased to have Dustin back, and we’re really proud of him too,” he said.
“We all know how hard he has worked to get to this point, and the story behind him is really inspiring, and he brings so much to the team. He has a brilliant training ethic, a huge heart and he improved hugely last season.
“He didn’t have a huge amount of experience, especially in T20 cricket, so to play against the likes of Joe Root and Dawid Malan and to hold his own is brilliant.
“He’s a great character and he has an insatiable appetite to learn and succeed, so I couldn’t be happier that he’s involved with us. He has overcome so much, he missed out on the Zimbabwe trip and had ankle surgery. That and the coronavirus scenario could have had a really negative effect on him, but it didn’t. He came back and bowled so well.
“The whole group are inspired by the fact he is never down, never beaten. Dustin will always try to be the best that he can be.”
Despite signing as an overseas player for next season, Melton’s primary aim is to become England qualified ahead of the 2022 campaign.
Kirby is looking forward to seeing the Zimbabwe-born paceman in Derbyshire colours again next season, but has emphasised that there’s no added pressure for the bowler.
“Being an overseas player should not put too much pressure on Dustin,” he added.
“It’s about giving him the opportunity to become England qualified, which he has worked so hard, for so many years, but we don’t want him coming back thinking ‘I’m an overseas so I have to do really well’, because that’s a lot of pressure.
“We think he will do well next season, because he has a good understanding now of what his job is and how he can be consistent.”
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