Derbyshire season preview
Derbyshire head into the new season with a revamped squad and high hopes of ending their long period of mediocrity.
By Graeme Mair
Last Updated: 16/04/08 10:46am
Derbyshire head into the new season with a revamped squad and ambitions of ending their long period of mediocrity.
The most significant among a raft of new faces is all-rounder Rikki Clarke, who has been brought in from Surrey as captain.
Clarke was once regarded as a potential England rival for Andrew Flintoff, but his bowling has not developed as expected and he fell out of favour at the Oval during the second half of last season, prompting a move north.
The 26-year-old has no previous leadership experience to draw on as he steps into Simon Katich's shoes, the Australian having declined to return for another season.
The county had recruited Mahela Jayawardene as Katich's replacement for the first half of the season. However, the classy Sri Lankan batsman was forced to pull out of the deal due to subsequent changes to the international schedule.
Instead, the overseas role will be filled by Western Australian Chris Rogers, who scored heavily in county cricket during previous stints with Derbyshire and Northamptonshire.
Left-arm spinner Nayan Doshi has also joined from Surrey, while batsman John Sadler's arrival from Leicestershire is less inspiring.
Doshi will be expected to fill Ant Botha's boots. Botha signed for Warwickshire after taking 51 championship wickets in 2007.
Derbyshire's recent history has been decidedly inglorious, since the county championship was split into two divisions in 2000 they have spent seven out of eight seasons residing in the lower tier.
Last season they finished sixth with just three victories and failed to challenge in any of the one-day competitions, leaving plenty of room for improvement in 2008.
Big year for: Rikki Clarke - Derbyshire coach John Morris is either going to look like a genius or idiot for recruiting Clarke as captain. The all-rounder has talent - particularly with the bat - to make a big impact, but his leadership skills are a total unknown.
Rising star: Dan Birch - A batsman of rich promise, he marked his first-class debut with a century before lunch against the Cambridge students. His three championship appearances last season included an innings of 95 against Gloucestershire.