Chief Executive, Ryan Duckett, has provided an update on when Mickey Arthur will begin his Head of Cricket role, as well as sharing recruitment and ground development plans for 2022.
Arthur was announced as the Club’s new Head of Cricket at the end of November, while he was still working as Sri Lanka Head Coach, following a robust interview process which included a number of strong candidates.
It was initially hoped that Arthur would arrive at The Incora County Ground in early December, however delays regarding the former South Africa coach’s visa have impacted the start of his new role with Derbyshire.
“There has been significant progress this week and we’re hopeful that by the end of the third week in January, Mickey will be able to start his role and fully get stuck in with the players, and will be hands-on in the preparation for the new season,” said Duckett.
“I’m in conversation with him at the moment and he’s champing at the bit, but with Covid restrictions, vaccines and passport applications, it has all taken a bit longer than we hoped, but we’re confident that won’t impact our preparations for the new season.
“The players are already aware of the standards Mickey expects, and their fitness scores have improved over the last few months. He’s had informal chats with the squad about what they need to improve and I’ve already had numerous conversations with him around recruitment.
“Hopefully our Members and supporters feel the optimism going into the season and that will build further as we start to add to the squad.”
Pakistan international, Shan Masood, has already signed for the 2022 campaign as an overseas player, having worked with Arthur at international level between 2016 and 2019.
As well as Masood’s ability, which has led him to score four Test centuries for his country, he also offers the kind of attitude and work rate that Arthur wants to bring into the Derbyshire squad.
With work going on behind the scenes to secure further additions, Duckett says the resources are in place for Arthur to shape his Derbyshire squad for 2022.
“Mickey has certain things he wants in the dressing room, such as work ethic, commitment, character and he has singled out Shan as one of those players,” he added.
“Shan’s clearly a quality player, he’s had success at international level and continues to perform within the Pakistan domestic structure. Mickey sees him as the ideal fit, both as a player and a person, to take the Club forward. I had conversations with Shan before he signed and the qualities that Mickey had spoken about came through even then.
“We do have some money available for recruitment and that’s available for Mickey to shape the squad how he wants to. It’s work in progress, but hopefully we will have some positive announcements in the next few months. There will definitely be some more players to come in and that’s exciting, because they are the kind of players Mickey wants to bring in.
“He has a certain brand of cricket he wants to play in the different formats, and our recruitment will reflect that. Mickey has a large contacts list, not just in international cricket but throughout the game, which helps when you’re having those conversations.”
The Head of Cricket role is not the only coaching change during the winter, with former Lead Strength and Conditioning Coach, Jonty Norris, departing, while Fran Clarkson will be leaving her role as Lead Physiotherapist. The Club has moved quickly to fill those roles, with Duckett pleased with the quality of staff brought in.
“Matt Mayer, who is our Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach, has done a really good job over the winter while we have been recruiting. James Bell will be joining us from Durham as Lead Strength and Conditioning Coach from Monday, and he will be building on the excellent work Matt has done.
“Fran has done a great job for us over the last five years and now moves onto The FA, but we have been able to appoint a Lead Physiotherapist that Mickey knows through international cricket.”
2022 represents the first season since 2019 which will see unrestricted crowds for the full campaign, with Membership remaining the best-value way to follow Derbyshire across all formats.
After two challenging years for the Club, due to the impacts of Covid-19 on ticket sales and the events business, Duckett says there’s cause for optimism in 2022, with a number of exciting ground developments planned.
“It’s been hugely frustrating, but understandable, to have to play games behind closed doors, but we’ve had tremendous support from our Members and sponsors.
“Last year, we actually had huge interest for tickets but we couldn’t fulfil that demand due to capacity restrictions. Those restrictions lifted on July 19, which was the day after our final scheduled Vitality Blast fixture. It had a huge impact, not just on the atmosphere within the ground, but commercially as well.
“I hope our Members feel optimism for improvement on the field, after what was a difficult year for us. There were a few circumstances there, such as injuries and a lack of availability for overseas players, hopefully we won’t experience anything like that again. With our recruitment and a new Head of Cricket, I’m confident we will see improvement this year.
“We’ve wanted to bring in a new scoreboard for a number of years now and I have no doubt it will enhance our customer and Member experience, for cricket and other events as well. I’m really looking forward to seeing our new big screen, hopefully with plenty of runs for Derbyshire on it!
“Early discussions are also ongoing around improving the toilet facilities around the ground, which hopefully we can implement before the end of the 2022 season.
“It’s been a difficult time for the Club, we’ve had to take some tough decisions to help get us through, but the Club is in as good a position as it could have been, given the circumstances.
“That leaves us in a good place to move forward over the next couple of years, but we have to remain cautious. We’re investing more in our cricket this year, have a new Head of Cricket added to the talent we already have at the Club, and that will hopefully lead to more success on the field.”
2022 Membership – One Club, Our County
2022 Membership is on sale now, with supporters able to attend a full season of Derbyshire home cricket for the first time since 2019, along with a host of other great benefits for just £179!