Heritage Officer, David Griffin, spoke to Fynn Hudson-Prentice about his cricketing career and hopes for the future in this first of our player interviews in 2021. Here’s part two of their chat.
As an all-rounder, do you have a preference for batting or bowling?
I’ve always considered myself to be a batsman who bowls a bit; I’ve been a consistent bowler but not one who blows teams away. I opened the batting in T20 cricket for Sussex Second XI, and I still see myself as a top five or top six batsman. My bowling has come on in leaps and bounds since I joined Derbyshire and I’d like to be a first change bowler, long-term.
You always seem to be enjoying the game, especially the shortest format; is Twenty 20 cricket more fun for all-rounders?
Oh yes, I love it, especially when the crowds are in. It’s a massive buzz – beating Lancashire at Old Trafford in front of 15,000 and Gloucestershire at Bristol with a full house were amazing experiences. However, I love red ball cricket, that’s what I aspire to be consistent at. Although we all like T20 cricket! For me, my dream is to play Test cricket for England.
You played a big part in Derbyshire’s run to T20 Finals Day in 2019. What was the experience of Finals Day like for you?
A bit of a blur – I was gutted that we lost, obviously, but it was amazing arriving at the ground and seeing such a huge crowd, and your own fans all gathered together. It was a great experience but disappointing considering how well we had played before finals day. The important thing is to get there again and do better next time.
Going back twelve months, how did Covid-19 affect your pre-season preparations?
It was – and still is – quite weird. We had worked hard during the winter and even when we flew to Zimbabwe last March, we thought it (Covid) was probably something which would blow over. But when we got home and went to collect our cars from the ground everything had escalated and we sort of said farewell to each other with no-one knowing when we’d next see each other.
At one stage we thought there’d be no cricket at all, but I tried to maintain my fitness at home despite knowing that the momentum from 2019 was being put on hold. It’s all very worrying for so many people across the world; nobody knows what’s happening next.
In the opening game in 2020 at Trent Bridge, I was watching you as you ran in to bowl your first over and you seemed to pull up after one delivery. Had you injured yourself earlier in the game?
I actually injured myself when the first ball of the game was bowled – I dived for the ball and felt something go at the top of my left leg. It eased off until I bowled my first ball at which point I knew I’d done something because it was quite painful. I tried to play through it at various times in the season, and on reflection shouldn’t have.
You must be acutely aware that your performance with the bat on the final day at Trent Bridge last year will be talked about for decades; you’re now a part of Derbyshire folklore. What was it like to be part of that history-making performance?
I think the lads were confident – the pitch never really changed much over the four days. Wickets would come for bowlers who bowled consistently, but so would runs if you sat in long enough.
We knew we had time; our number 11, Sam Conners, had showed in the first innings that it was possible even for a tailender to stay in for a long period, so we felt we were in a great position at the start of Day Four and felt that if we batted the whole day and still had someone set at the end, we’d win.
Billy had a great morning, Madders scored a few, Critch did well, and that set us up for the second half of the day. I remember going in at tea with about 4 an over needed in the last session thinking we didn’t need to panic; we could win it.
Throughout the last hour when Samit Patel was bowling into the rough at Mikey (Cohen) I was worried that I had gone too slow – I was confident that we could win but acutely aware that we could end up 360-8 but not win the game because I’d gone too slowly. It was only when the winning run was hit that I relaxed completely.
You appear from the boundary, at least, to be a competitive character; is that the case?
Yes, I like a bit of competition, I like to be challenged and I play better when it gets tough out there. I know how to bat and bowl – we all do at county level – but it’s doing it when the pressure is on and coming through at difficult times. Ask most bowlers to nail a yorker in the nets, and they can. It’s a different matter in the final over of a T20 game in front of 15,000 at Trent Bridge! That’s when you need the temperament, the character.
Presumably, pre-season this year is again being hampered by Covid-19?
We’re training and practicing – hopefully, the vaccine will help the more vulnerable in society and at some point, we can start playing cricket again – with spectators. But who knows?
What are your ambitions in the game?
I’m 25 now and I’d like to improve technically as a batsman and then play a few seasons of county cricket where I can demonstrate real consistency. I want to stay fit, be available for selection for every game, then produce the goods when I get selected. It would be ridiculous not to be ambitious enough to play Test cricket – and I am that ambitious – plus I’d like to help Derbyshire win a trophy or get into the top division. A couple of consistent seasons and who knows where that might take me, but full fitness and playing regularly for Derbyshire is at the heart of my current ambitions.
And finally, any cricketing heroes?
When I was ten it was Andrew Flintoff – the summer of the 2005 Ashes – he was my idol, a fast bowler, he whacked it and caught pigeons at slip. Ben Stokes is another; and in our side Luis Reece goes about the game in such a professional way. Luis is the ideal model professional. To open the bowling and the batting and stay as fit as he does is inspirational.
We all missed cricket in 2020, so make sure you don’t miss a moment in 2021 with Club Membership. Backed by our new Membership Guarantee, you can be assured that your Membership is protected.
Every enthralling LV= Insurance County Championship game, every huge six in the Vitality Blast and every exciting moment of the Royal London Cup – you can see it all as a Member next season.
With a host of additional benefits, exclusives and more, Club Membership is the best way value to enjoy Derbyshire in 2021, and with our Membership guarantee, you can buy with confidence.
Together, We Are All Derbyshire. Club Membership for the 2021 season is on sale now, from just £199. Backed by our all-new Membership Guarantee, buy now for priority entry all summer.