Derbyshire fast bowler Sam Conners has revealed how life with the Lions has helped him to progress as a cricketer.
Conners is enjoying a good season under Derbyshire’s head of cricket Mickey Arthur and that was recognised when he was called up by England Lions for the four-day match against the South Africans earlier this month.
The 23-year-old has so far taken 59 wickets for Derbyshire across all formats and celebrated his maiden List A five-wicket haul in the Royal London Cup game against Yorkshire at Chesterfield last Sunday.
He also claimed his 100th Derbyshire wicket in that match and said: “At the start of the year I wanted to produce performances across all three formats.
“White-ball cricket was definitely a target of mine so to get five in a game this season is really pleasing. It’s another milestone for me to tick off and keep going.”
Conners made the most of his opportunity with the Lions, taking 4-25 in the second innings at Canterbury to play his part in an innings victory.
“It was a really good experience for me,” he said. “To be able to pick the brains of the Test bowlers that were there – Ollie Robinson and Craig Overton – was really helpful and I’ve learned a lot from that.
“Things like the way to bowl on certain pitches. The one at Canterbury was a bit flat and the way they went about it really showed me what I needed to do.
“Also the way they do their skills, and even in the warm-ups watching them bowl certain deliveries was definitely something I took away.
“In the first innings I probably didn’t bowl as well as I wanted to but after chatting with Jon Lewis, the bowling coach, and Craig and Ollie, I was able to take away some things and put them into practice in the second innings.
“There was not a lot of pressure on me, I was just told to go out and enjoy it and hopefully I’ve brought that back to Derbyshire.”
Conners is the second Derbyshire player along with George Scrimshaw to be selected by England Lions this season which he sees as a reward for what is happening at the county.
“In previous years Derbyshire have almost been overlooked for performances. If you look at Matt Critchley last year as an example, he had an unbelievable season but unfortunately didn’t get picked.
“So it’s really important as a club that we are being recognised by England Lions and that people are watching Derbyshire.
“It will also help us to attract players so it’s only going to boost us as a team and hopefully this is just the start for the county and it will keep progressing.”
England return to The Incora County Ground – tickets on sale now!
Heather Knight’s England side are aiming to extend their unbeaten streak in Derby with T20 action against India this summer.