Dave Houghton says Derbyshire will go into the Royal London Cup with the intention of challenging for the trophy, and the Head of Cricket believes having larger crowds back at home games will play a huge part.
Houghton’s side has been depleted by the loss of Matt Critchley, Luis Reece and Leus du Plooy to The Hundred, and Wayne Madsen to long-term injury, but captain Billy Godleman will return for the opening 50-over game against Leicestershire, while it’s hoped all-rounder Alex Hughes will return from a side injury to play later in the group stage.
Experienced West Indies quick Ravi Rampaul will lead a developing attack during the Royal London Cup, with the likes of George Scrimshaw, Michael Cohen and Ben Aitchison likely to be key.
Houghton is excited to see how the team performs in the competition, and says the fact that all teams are without some first-team regulars means there is no clear favourite for the crown.
“Every team in the country is going to be missing front line players, but that gives a lot of players the opportunity to have a run in the side and impress,” he said.
“I would give us as much of a chance as anyone, I think it’s a real lottery to predict who will win this competition. We start the tournament on a level playing field with every team. It’s a big tournament for us coming up and we’re really looking forward to it.
“It will be great to have Ravi back, he’s a fantastic bowler in the limited overs formats, and he will add real experience and lead our ever-improving young bowling attack.”
With lockdown restrictions eased from 19 July, the club is able to welcome more supporters back to The Incora County Ground and Queen’s Park, Chesterfield.
Houghton says having big crowds back to support the team will be huge for Derbyshire, who play five fixtures on home soil in the group stage.
“It’ll be fantastic to have full crowds back cheering us on. It’s been so nice to see the Members and supporters, even in limited numbers, recently,” he added.
“Having those familiar faces back in the ground is a big boost for our team, they are really supportive of us and they all know their cricket. We hope that we can get some good crowds in and entertain them with some really good cricket.”
Watch Derbyshire in the Royal London Cup!
50-over cricket returns to Derbyshire this month, with tickets on sale now for all home games, including the local derby against Nottinghamshire at The Incora County Ground and the fixture against Yorkshire Vikings at Queen’s Park, Chesterfield.