Smit aiming to align Talent Pathway with Arthur's vision

Friday 14th January 2022
& News

Head of Talent Pathway, Daryn Smit, says he’s looking forward to working closely with Head of Cricket, Mickey Arthur, and says both see a bright future for Derbyshire cricket. 

Smit enjoyed a hugely positive first full year in the role in 2021, with Mitch Wagstaff making his first team debut in the Royal London Cup, Derbyshire finishing top of their under 18s three-day competition group and a number of players being selected for external tournaments, such as the ECB Super Fours and the Bunbury Festival.

Nafis Shaikh and Wagstaff each scored half-centuries at The Incora County Ground in a pre-season friendly against Cardiff UCCE in April, alongside first teamers such as Alex Hughes and Tom Wood.

Arthur, who has coached four different teams at international level, will take charge of Derbyshire later this month, and Smit says early conversations with the new Head of Cricket have been hugely encouraging regarding the pathway from the Academy to the first team.

“From my discussions with Mickey, there will be plenty of opportunities for our Academy players in the Second XI this year,” he said.

“Obviously, they will need to be of the right standard, but the platform is there for the young players. The world is their oyster if they take the opportunities, what we are already seeing in January is promising, so we’ve got to carry that progress through to April, so the boys are ready to step up.

“While the players haven’t met Mickey yet, I’ve certainly filled them in on his vision and the important parts of the game that he’s prioritising, such as fielding and fitness, that message is getting across really clearly.

“Mickey’s a top man, hugely experienced and there’s an aura around him, even just speaking to him, the levels have gone up in first team training since he was appointed and hopefully that rubs off on a few of our Academy players.

“My biggest goal is trying to align the Academy programme with that of the first team. Last year, we had Mitch Wagstaff go into the first team and that will always be a big occasion, but if we can prepare them for that within our environment, then stepping up won’t be as big of a jump.

“If we were treating our Academy boys like school kids, spoon feeding them everything, then they might not be able to adapt once they get to the first team, that’s why it’s so important for myself and Mickey to be working closely, to prepare our players for life in the first team.”

The Boys’ Academy intake for 2022 was announced in December, with Smit enthusiastic about the quality within the group ahead of the 2022 season.

“This is a really exciting group, and our own pathway system forms the bulk of the team,” he added.

“Through our trial system, we spent seven weeks before Christmas taking a good look at the players we’ve brought in and it’s a really good group with plenty of balance, in terms of fast bowlers and spinners.

“We’ve got some experience, with Mitch Wagstaff, Archie Harrison and Nafis Shaikh, who have been involved at this level for three seasons now, their leadership of the group will be really important.

“We have to be mindful that the game isn’t played on paper, but the early signs are really positive. We’ve spoken a few times about the opportunities that will be on offer, Mitch is the perfect example of that, having played in the first team.”

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