Welcome to the county cricket round-up for the week beginning 4th November. This article will be updated with the latest stories as they unfold during the rest of the week.
Boost For Derbyshire As Skipper Pens New Deal
Derbyshire captain and 2013 leading Championship run-scorer Wayne Madsen has signed a new three-year deal with the county in what will be a welcome boost to them ahead of their return to the second division.
Madsen attracted interest from several other counties after becoming the first player in the country in 2013 to reach the landmark of 1,000 LV= County Championship Division One runs, but has chosen to stay put with the county that gave him his chance following his move from his native South Africa.
He said, “I’m proud to have signed a new contract with Derbyshire. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my five years here so far. It’s a fantastic club with great ambition. We’ve taken great strides over the past couple of seasons and I believe we can continue to make progress and hopefully compete for titles on all fronts.”
Head Coach Karl Krikken added, “Wayne enjoyed a magnificent campaign last season and we’re delighted to have him here for the foreseeable future. As well as tremendous performances with the bat, Wayne led the side really well as we tackled Division One for the first time. To be the first player to 1,000 runs, plus all the other accolades, was a real bonus to Wayne and the club.
“Other clubs wanted him, of course they did, but it’s important to keep hold of our top players if we want to push to win trophies. I’m delighted we’ve been able to do this with Wayne.”
Madsen was rewarded for his outstanding 2013 season - during which he averaged 43.6 in the LV= County Championship, more than five runs more than overseas player Shivnarine Chanderpaul - by being named that competition’s Player of the Year at the prestigious Cricket Writers’ Club dinner. He also won the inaugural Christopher Martin-Jenkins Spirit of Cricket Award.
Taylor To Lead Outlaws In Limited-Overs Cricket
Nottinghamshire have surprised no-one by appointing James Taylor as Chris Read’s successor as their limited-overs captain. 35 year-old Read had already announced his intention to quit leading the side in 50-over cricket, having already done so in the 20-over game, but will continue to lead the Championship side with Taylor as his official deputy.
“It’s important to have a succession plan in place and I was keen to get James involved in the captaincy in some form,” Director of Cricket Mick Newell said. “Chris had stepped aside to allow David Hussey and Adam Voges to captain our Twenty20 side in recent seasons and benefited from having that break and this is a natural extension of that with James very suited to the role. Both players are pleased with the arrangement and I’m hopeful that it will help us to continue to improve.”
Taylor was always the frontrunner for the role, having skippered the side in Read’s absence and led the England Lions, and Leicestershire during his time there. He has also extended his Notts contract until the end of the 2016 season and had this to say of his new role: “I’m looking forward to captaining Notts Outlaws because I’ve had positive experiences leading the Lions against good opposition on tough tours. There are challenges that come with it but I’ll enjoy the extra responsibility. I’m going to relish every minute of it but most importantly I need to lead from the front with the bat.
“I’m a relatively young and inexperienced captain so I haven’t defined my style yet. I’ll definitely be trying to get the best out of everyone in any way that I can by giving them confidence to play.”
Taylor, whose appointment comes as no surprise after Chris Read virtually nominated him as his successor in a recent BBC interview, may of course receive a, some would say overdue, England recall. Newell said that the club will re-evaluate their options if that proves to be the case.
“It’s almost impossible to combine an international career with club captaincy and we will re-evaluate things if James becomes a Test regular,” said Newell. “He is entering a crucial period for his international aspirations over the next three seasons and I still believe that he could play a lot of cricket for England if opportunities arise for him.”
Somerset Look To Turn Corner With Coaching Re-Structure
Somerset have re-jigged their coaching staff following a disappointing 2013 season that saw them almost relegated from the LV= County Championship top flight. They have appointed former Zimbabwe batsman Dave Houghton as their assistant and batting coach after he was released by Derbyshire owing to financial constraints.
Director of Cricket Dave Nosworthy said, “We are really excited to have someone of Dave Houghton’s stature and credibility on board and know that he will have a lot to offer us going forward. He is a good man with an excellent work ethic and I am really looking forward to having his expertise around.”
Houghton added, “The opportunity to work at a club like Somerset, who have the real passion and desire to achieve - comes round just once in a lifetime and I thus can’t wait to get started. I look forward to contributing in any way I can to the continued success of this club, and look forward to working with quality people and players.”
Meanwhile, second XI coach and Academy Director Jason Kerr has been promoted to assistant and bowling coach. Nosworthy will now take on day-to-day responsibility for first-team affairs, with head coach Andy Hurry moving to a development role as Director of High Performance.
“The appointment of Jason Kerr from within our own structures is also really exciting as he has the respect of the players and will no doubt also bring his vast knowledge and expertise into the First XI environment,” Nosworty added. “I look forward to working closely with Dave and Jason and together taking this team forward.”
Hurry’s new role - some might call it a demotion, although Nosworthy denied to the Bristol Post that this was the case - is wide-ranging. According to the club: “It encompasses all High Performance aspects and includes managing, coaching, and developing emerging talent in the Academy and 2nd XI as well as strengthening the relationship with Minor Counties, Universities, Clubs, and Schools.”
Nosworthy said, “Andy has done a superb job over the years with the First XI and deserves much credit for their success. The time is now ideally suited for him to offer his outstanding knowledge and experience to develop the best Talent & Development Programme in the country.
Hurry said, “I have relished my eight season tenure as Head Coach and the relationships that have been built both on and off the field. I’ve been very fortunate to have been a small part of a very competitive phase of the club’s history. I am now however looking forward to embracing relationships with our valued partners across the Minor Counties and excited about being part of developing the next wave of regional talent. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the players, the staff and the Board for their much valued relationships and for their support over the past years, and know that these will be maintained going forward in my new role.”
Piolet Returns To The South Coast
Steffan Piolet will return to the place where it all began when he returns to Hove after signing for Sussex for the 2014 season. The 25 year-old was born in Surrey, but schooled in Sussex, where he learnt his cricket. He played a handful of times for Sussex second XI after graduating through their age-group set-up and playing in the local league. However, in 2008 he moved to Warwickshire and made his first-team debut in all three formats the following season.
Now, frustrated by a lack of opportunities at Edgbaston, he has returned home. He had become primarily a limited-overs specialist for the Bears and went on loan to Sussex at the end of last season. He managed to play a couple of times for their second XI but will hope to establish himself in their LV= County Championship side now that he is a full member of the staff.
Piolet said of his move, “I’m delighted to be back home with Sussex. I always wanted to play here at some point in my career and I'm looking forward to fighting for a place in all forms of the game.”
Sussex’s Professional Cricket Manager Mark Robinson said, “We’re really excited at the prospect of having Steff on board. Being a local lad, having played youth and second-team cricket with us, he is somebody we know really well.
“Steff has a hunger to play in the longer form of the game and the makeup of our squad means he has every chance of getting some opportunities to prove he is more than just a very good one-day player.”
Piolet was always likely to find it hard to break into a Warwickshire Championship line-up that includes several current or past internationals - Chris Woakes, Boyd Rankin, Rikki Clarke being among them - with Robinson professing himself grateful to Warwickshire for allowing Piolet to move, saying, “We appreciate and admire Warwickshire’s willingness to do what is best for the player by releasing him and allowing us to pick up the last year of his contract.”
Hales Given Time Off For Indian Adventure
Nottinghamshire have granted Alex Hales and Samit Patel permission to feature in this season’s Indian Premier League, with talks with Michael Lumb still ongoing.
Director of Cricket Mick Newell barred his players from playing in the league in 2013 as it clashes with the first two months of the county cricket season. However, Hales and Nottinghamshire struggled in the LV= County Championship - the county almost being relegated - while Hales indicated that he may move counties if he was not given time off to take part in future.
As it is, a compromise has been reached whereby Hales can play in next year’s IPL, and the 2015 and 2016 editions, providing he secures a contract of at least US$400,000 - part of which will go to Nottinghamshire in compensation. He has also signed a new contract with the club, committing to play in all three forms of the game.
Newell explained the change of heart: “It’s hard for us to deny an individual the opportunity to earn life-changing amounts of money but the team also has to be considered so it made sense to allow him to enter the auction to see if there is sufficient interest in his services to secure a high-value contract.
“He has a track record of scoring runs consistently against high-quality Twenty20 bowlers [he is the world’s number one ranked batsman in T20 Internationals] and it’s easy to see why he could be an asset to an IPL side. It feels like the right time to allow him to maximise the financial opportunities that go hand in hand with his track record.”
Following his dismal season in Championship cricket in 2013 - he averaged 13.94 from 10 games - Hales admitted that he considered becoming a T20 freelance.
“Last season was tough for me because I was sky high in two formats and at rock bottom with the red ball,” he said. “It did cross my mind to go freelance and focus on Twenty20 full-time but I’ve had time to think and I’m still driven to do well in four-day cricket and to break into England’s one-day setup.
“There were moments last season where I got carried away with how well things were going with the white ball to the detriment of my Championship form but I’ve got the drive to put things right.”
According to the club’s website, they are in “advanced talks” with an established batsman to provide cover for Hales in the opening weeks of next season. Patel is less likely to reach to the US$400,000 threshold so the need for cover for him is not so pressing.
County Cricket News In Brief:
Sussex have re-signed overseas player Steve Magoffin for a third season. The 33 year-old Australian finished as their leading LV= County Championship wicket-taker in both 2012 and 2013.
Pensions and insurance company Royal London have agreed to sponsor all 50-over cricket in England next season, thus ending Yorkshire Bank and Clydesdale Bank’s sponsorship of the domestic one-day competition. Full story
Phil Mustard and Keaton Jennings have signed contract extensions with County Champions Durham. Wicket-keeper Mustard has committed his future to Chester-le-Street until the end of the 2016 season. Opening batsman Jennings, meanwhile, has signed until the end of 2015.
Worcestershire have extended the contract of left-arm spinner Shaaiq Choudhry to cover the 2014 season. Choudhry will contonue his role partnering the Pears' other spinner, Moeen Ali, in limited-overs, and occasionally Championship, cricket.
Sussex have appointed Michael Yardy as their 2014 beneficiary. Yardy made his first-team debut for the club back in 1999 and went onto play for England in limited-overs cricket. The 32 year-old, who suffers with depression, has chosen mental health charity MIND and Rockinghorse Children’s Charity as his charity partners.
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