Exciting times ahead for Derbyshire fans
Breaking news...two of the World Cup's top five batsmen will be plying their trade at Derbyshire this summer, together with a very good bowler whose ability to use a new ball and 'close' an innings should make us a much better T20 side than in recent years.
Martin Guptill's innings against the West Indies last night was extraordinary. Launched with a textbook straight drive which he replicated twice more in the following over, just about the only error in his innings was a clip off his legs that was juggled, then dropped by Marlon Samuels when he had made only four. 233 runs later, Marlon must have felt a tad sheepish.
Truth be told, he did the World of Cricket a favour, because it was a masterclass of Guptill's best bits - the perfectly vertical bat as he played his straight drives; the inside out drive that sends the ball soaring over mid off (and the boundary there); the slog sweep that generally sends the ball fifteen rows back - in such a vein he is a wonderful sight. That he did it in a World Cup quarter final was special, but he did it with such panache, such extraordinary acceleration, that it was breathtaking. I read earlier that his last 137 came from 52 balls and by the end he was treating the bowlers with complete disdain and hitting them into the middle distance and onto the roof of the stadium.
Equally striking was his humility afterwards. 'I realised I needed to start hitting boundaries once I got a hundred' he said, seemingly oblivious to the fact that he'd hit some pretty impressive ones already and was scoring at a rate that an English batsman would have been quite content with. It was just another day at the office for a modest man of high talent who is a pleasure to watch.
Dilshan and Guptill combo awaits
As it will be this summer at Derbyshire. It speaks volumes for the off-field team at the club that we could identify the availability of and negotiate successfully with two batsmen of the status of Guptill and Tillakaratne Dilshan, then bring them to the 3aaa County Ground.
It speaks equally well of the players that they have bought into what is happening at the club and they want to be a part of what they see as a success. I expect to see Derbyshire play some vibrant, aggressive, attractive cricket this summer in all formats. I'll reserve judgement on T20 success, given our track record in the format is akin to Sammy the Snail's success rate in the 100 metres, but by crikey, we should be worth watching in that format, as well as the others this summer.
The opening overs of our innings should be driven by world-class batsmen, while those of the opposition should see their batsmen trying to do something with yorkers that home in on their toes. We've not had a bowler like Nathan Rimmington since Charl Langeveldt; we've not had a batsman like Dilshan and Guptill since the latter's previous stint with the club in 2012.
Last weekend I looked at our squad, after an impressive pre-season tour and thought we could do pretty well this summer. In the past seven days we have signed a world-class opening batsman and a top-class opening bowler to go along with a man who has just made the highest-ever score in a cricket World Cup.
Seriously. Aren't you excited?
Because I know I am...