Head of Cricket, Mickey Arthur, sat down with Club media to review the season so far and to look ahead to the second-half of the LV= County Championship season and the Royal London Cup.
In an interview covering a range of topics, Arthur outlined his ambitions for the rest of the season, gave his take on what he’s seen from Derbyshire so far and provided clarity on the future of Dustin Melton.
The season so far
Arthur has been pleased with what he’s seen so far in the LV= County Championship, with one win and four draws from Derbyshire’s opening six red ball matches.
The Head of Cricket has highlighted the work still to be done to increase the number of wins, but says the signs of improvement are clear to see.
“You want to become a team that’s hard to beat first, and you do that because you have players stepping up into different roles, you want them to be take responsibility and accountability for those roles. ” he said.
“It was very clear that we needed to get runs on the board, that was severely lacking last year, and we’ve batting outstandingly well so far. Wickets have been good to bat on, but you still need to get in and score the runs.
“I’ve seen improvement in everybody’s technical game, their appetite for big runs and when players have got in, they’ve generally gone on to make big scores.
“To win games, you’ve also got 20 wickets, and in every game bar maybe the Middlesex game and the one against Nottinghamshire, we’ve dominated. We’ve been in winnings positions but we just couldn’t bowl, the opposition out.
“That’s something we’re working on, we need to keep developing our attack, because it’s a young attack and we’ve got to work on their ability to strike and also to take wickets by building pressure.
“It was really important for me that our bowlers got a lot of bowling time, but also that they understand the mechanics of red ball cricket, you can’t go searching for wickets, it’s all about patience. The three words we’ve used in the dressing room are patience, partnerships and pressure, because those are the keys to winning red ball cricket games.
“The win over Leicestershire was so pleasing because we restricted them to just over two runs an over, then we scored at just under four and were able to give ourselves time to bowl them out. When that whole thing comes together, it helps the players to understand the brand of cricket you want them to play.
“We’ve been good and solid, we’ve been fairly consistent and that’s a good starting point. I just want to see us keep getting better. We need to keep being hard to beat, because that puts pressure on our opponents.
“Winning can become a habit, like losing, but we’re developing all the time and I want to see us get better and better, to finish as high as we possibly can in the table.”
Head of Cricket, Mickey Arthur, has confirmed that fast bowler Dustin Melton will leave Derbyshire at the end of the 2022 season.
The 27-year-old has taken 27 wickets for Derbyshire and remains available for selection across all formats for the remainder of this summer.
“Unfortunately, we aren’t going to renew Dustin Melton’s contract at the end of the season,” said Arthur.
“He is currently not eligible as an English-qualified player, so he’s on our books as overseas, but with Suranga Lakmal and Shan Masood signed, we were always likely to go with their experience.
“When Suranga got injured, and with Ben Aitchison already out, we needed another quick bowler and we went with Hayden Kerr, so unfortunately for Dustin, he’s missing out.
“We’ve got a good group of young bowlers and they’ll take time to develop. But we need to balance that with experience and that’s what has been lacking with the injuries we’ve had.
“During the close season, we will be looking for experienced options to improve our seam bowling department to make it stronger and with Dustin not part of those plans, it’s only right to allow him to look to pursue his career elsewhere.”
On Shan Masood and the batting unit
With Pakistan international, Shan Masood, becoming one of the leading run-scorers in the country, it’s easy to see why he has stolen many of the headlines this season.
Arthur has heaped praise on his overseas star, but is keen to highlight the outstanding performances from the batting unit as a whole this season.
“Shan’s led our batting unit, but on the back of that, you get so many good performances from different players because they’re playing with less pressure.
“Shan has the ability to put the pressure back on the opposition bowlers, which makes it a lot better for our other batters. They still have to come in and get themselves in, though.
“We’ve been ruthless on the first 20 balls, batting is about your defensive game and I think that if your defensive game is in order, you attacking game generally is too.
“I’m very comfortable with what we’ve done so far, and some of that he been on the back of some very good innings from Shan Masood, but that in no way takes anything away from our other batters.
“We’ve had virtually every batter, other than Billy, Luis and Leus, get centuries in the County Championship, and Billy, Luis got hundreds at Oxford and Leus is averaging around 50, so as a unit we’ve been very solid, which allows you to put pressure on the opposition.”
“Sam Conners is a bowler with a very high ceiling, his ability to get better is exponential. It’s been tough for him bowling without Suranga [Lakmal] in the last couple of games, because bowling with him taught Sam a lot about what he needed to do. That’s another value of having a good overseas player around.
“Sam’s getting better and better, I’m very excited about where he can get to. He’s carried the attack and is our leading wicket-taker so far and he’s done a wonderful job.
“Brooke Guest has taken like a duck to water in that number three position. Technically, he’s very sound and I said earlier, if your defensive game is in order, so is your attacking game and Brooke has a very good defence.
“He moves well, gets into great positions and has good balance at the crease. His tempo is good and I think he’s starting to look like the finished article.
“Young Nick Potts is getting better and better, every time he’s been given an opportunity, he’s fit the bill. He’s only 19 but he’s very strong and fit, his action is good and I think he ceiling is also very high.”
The Royal London Cup
Arthur outlined his ambitions to challenge for the Royal London Cup and said the absence of Wayne Madsen and Leus du Plooy to The Hundred will give other players the chance to step up and play a greater role within the batting line-up.
“That will be a competition which I expect us to do fairly well in, there will be the opportunities for other players to take on key roles within the team.
“You lose Wayne and Leus, you’re losing some key players through the middle of your white ball innings, so it will be nice to see how other players perform and react to take on the responsibility.
“I know we’ve got the players to step up and do it, so it will be interesting to see who puts their hand up.”
Vitality Blast 2022 – Tickets on sale now!
Tickets for all of Derbyshire’s Vitality Blast fixtures are on sale now.
The Falcons will be aiming to extend their Vitality Blast winning streak at Queen’s Park to four matches, when they take on Yorkshire Vikings to close out the BRM Solicitors Festival of Cricket, in association with Chesterfield Borough Council, on Saturday 18 June.