Head of Talent Pathway, Daryn Smit, says Derbyshire’s Academy is aiming to compete with the bigger counties, after a successful season for the Club’s developing talent.
Smit enjoyed a successful first full campaign in the role, with the under 18s side finishing top of their ECB Three-Day Competition group, ahead of Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Staffordshire, while there was also plenty of positives within the younger age groups.
18-year-old Mitch Wagstaff made his first team debut in the Royal London Cup, making four appearances, as well as being selected for the ECB Super Fours in August, while under 15s talent Yousaf Bin Naeem was called up to the legendary Bunbury Festival after an impressive campaign.
With the Club’s young prospects already being recognised for their potential, Smit says Derbyshire are not content to simply compare themselves to club’s of a similar size, but are instead aiming to be among the best Pathway systems in England.
“We’re in a really good place, but it’s important we don’t rest on our laurels,” said Smit.
“We have to be realistic and understand that to simply improve on where we were would not be too difficult, we can’t sit back now. The challenge is not to be better than where we were, it’s about standing shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Nottinghamshire, Warwickshire and Yorkshire, competing with those counties.
“It would be easy to compare ourselves with the smaller counties, because then you always look good, but we want to set our bar higher than that, for our Academy to compete with the bigger counties.
“When our players see the likes of Mitch Wagstaff playing in the ECB Super Fours and Yousaf Bin Naeem going to the Bunbury Festival, it motivates them. The players coming through at all ages know there will be opportunities, especially when you also see Mitch playing for the first team in the Royal London Cup.
“The goal for me is to have one player moving up into the first team every year, that would mean we are moving in the right direction, but we want to challenge ourselves to have more than one.”
Smit has been supported by a strong group of committed coaches throughout the season, with every age group showing promising signs of development as a result of the work done on and off the field.
As the Academy prepares for another big winter, the Head of Talent Pathway has praised his coaches, saying their work is an important factor in helping the next generation of Derbyshire players into the first team.
“It’s hugely important that we have a good coaching structure, I can’t take all of the credit!,” he added.
“Having a good group of coaches who understand the Derbyshire structure and know what we are trying to achieve, is very important. We have to give so much credit to our coaches, and I’m sure it gives them pride and motivation when they see the likes of Mitch Wagstaff and Nick Potts moving up, because they’ve played a big role in that.
“They are vital to the process, in all age groups they’re aiding the journey through our Pathway to ultimately becoming a professional cricketer.”