Anuj Dal says having a better understanding of his role within the side aided his good form towards the end of last season, and the all-rounder is hoping he can build on those foundations in 2022.
Dal started the 2021 campaign batting at number three, but was quickly moved down the order before a poor run of form saw him playing in the Second XI, as he tried to force his way back into the first team.
357 runs at an average of 56.16 in the Second XI Championship was an indication that Dal’s confidence was growing, but a shoulder injury and a broken finger saw him miss much of the Vitality Blast.
Dal’s return to form would instead come in the final four LV= County Championship fixtures of the season, where he replaced Fynn Hudson-Prentice in the line-up, after the all-rounder had signed for Sussex.
With questions over his ability as a pure batter or bowler, rather than being an all-rounder, Dal settled into a new role within the line-up and flourished, scoring 287 runs at an average of 47.8, including his maiden first-class century against Leicestershire, as well as claiming nine wickets.
Dal believes being given a defined role within the team was crucial to his contributions late in the season, and he’s hoping he can carry that momentum to impress new Head of Cricket, Mickey Arthur.
“This is a chance for me to show that the performances at the end of last season are what I can do,” he said.
“I want to contribute more for the Club. Derbyshire were the first team to give me the opportunity to play first-class cricket, hopefully this new deal allows me to showcase my ability and become a consistent member of the first team.
“At the start of last season, I was still trying to find out what kind of player I could be, so when things don’t go your way at that point, you can start to question your ability. Having gone through that, I feel like I’m stronger for it, I had clarity about my role and what I needed to do for the team in those last four matches, that gave me the confidence to go out there and make sure my performance was on par.
“The appointment of Mickey [Arthur] has got all of the players, myself included, very excited, I think it’s a clean slate and this is a chance to be the player you want to be.
“As disappointing as it was when Fynn [Hudson-Prentice] left, it gave me the opportunity to play that role as a batter down the order, so whether I come in at eight, or whether it’s higher-up, your mindset is the same in that role. Hopefully what I can do with the ball going to get better from here on in, but I want to show Mickey what I can do with the bat, ball and in the field.”
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