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16th-20th May: 1st Test, Lord's
Derbyshire have signed former Essex, Middlesex and England Under-19s batsman Billy Godleman on a two-year contract. Godleman was told at the end of last season that he would not be offered a new contract by Essex, having endured a difficult 2012 season where he failed to pass 50 following the 130 that he made against Gloucestershire in the first LV= County Championship game of the season.
The 23 year-old will hope that he, like so many former Essex players including his new Derbyshire team-mate Tony Palladino, will prosper after moving away from the County Ground in Chelmsford, and admitted that the decision to join Derbyshire was motivated by a desire to once again work with the county's batting coach David Houghton and head coach Karl Krikken.
They have been major factors in my signing,” he said. “I spent time with Krik in some ECB work at Loughborough and, to be honest, the time I had with him was very limited but what really drew me in the time we have been talking about coming to Derby is his passion and energy for the club.
“I had more of a relationship with Dave at the ECB. I always found him very uncomplicated and to the point in how he delivered his expertise, because I think he has got an outstanding knowledge of batting and cricket. He has a real simple way of communicating that with other people and he has real belief in my ability.
“I want to be a part of cementing Derbyshire as a force in English county cricket but first and foremost in my decision to come here was the chance to work with Krik and Dave again. This is a fresh environment and seems to me a really good culture here. I just want to be a part of that and add as much value to it as I can, on and off the field."
Godleman made his first-class debut for Middlesex at the age of just 16 and was a prolific age-group cricketer, averaging over 50 in Youth ODIs for England Under-19s, but, with a first-class average of only 30.23, admits that he hasn't fulfilled his potential thus far.
He said, "There were a couple of issues technically and mentally that I needed to look at and I’m in the process of doing that work, so hopefully the learning that has taken place in those three years at Essex will help me perform for Derbyshire.
“I just didn’t make enough runs [during my time at Middlesex and Essex]. The important issue was why I didn’t make enough runs and I’ve had these six weeks since I was released to reflect on why that was the case. I’m in the process of improving in those areas. The first ball I face next season is all that matters to me now. I’ll play that as well as I can and earn the right to face the next one. I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself.
"I believe this opportunity with one of the most ambitious and progressive clubs in the game will provide the platform to re-establish my early credentials as a prospective England player."
County Cricket News In Brief:
Warwickshire are to give a trial to Hong Kong and former Durham MCCU wicket-keeper Jamie Atkinson as they look to find a new understudy to first-choice gloveman Tim Ambrose following the departure of Richard Johnson to Derbyshire.
According to a report in the local press, Kent are looking at registering 2012 overseas player Brendan Nash as a Kolpak player for next season in order to free up the possibility of signing another overseas professional.
Warwickshire players Chris Metters and Tim Ambrose are both expected to be fit for the start of the 2013 season despite undergoing shoulder operations. Metters missed most of last season due to difficulty diagnosing the exact cause of his injury, but the cause - a torn cartilage - has now been found and operated on.
© Cricket World 2012
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