Derbyshire must learn to live without Footitt

Billy Godleman has been entrusted with the Derbyshire captaincy © Getty Images

Elite performance director: Graeme Welch
Captain: Billy Godleman (Championship), Wes Durston (limited-overs)

Last season
Specsavers Championship: 8th Div 2; NatWest Blast: 9th North Group; Royal London Cup: 7th Group A

In: Andy Carter (Nottinghamshire), Tom Milnes (Warwickshire), Neil Broom (UK passport)
Out: Mark Footitt (Surrey), Wayne White (Leicestershire), Jonathan Clare (released)
Overseas: Hamish Rutherford, James Neesham (T20)

2015 in a nutshell

The arrival of Graeme Welch as elite performance director encouraged much optimism last season, but Derbyshire rarely lived up to it. Mark Footitt was the outstanding bowler in Division Two of the Championship for the second successive season, but an inexperienced squad had little else to celebrate. Wayne Madsen and Billy Godleman, captains old and new, delivered with the bat, but Shiv Thakor disappointed.

2016 prospects

How to replace Footitt, who has decamped to Surrey, is Derbyshire’s first challenge. Welch has raided his former club, Warwickshire, for Tom Milnes; Andy Carter – signed from Notts – has bags of ability but a poor fitness record; and Tom Taylor and Ben Cotton will look to continue their development. Hamish Rutherford can bring zip to the top order, and his fellow Kiwi Neil Broom has dusted off a dual passport at the age of 32. Youngsters such as Matt Critchley (see below) and Harvey Hosein, an excellent wicketkeeper who made a maiden first-class 50 last summer, should also progress. A Godleman captaincy – he has had his share of disciplinary problems – is intriguing.

Key player

Derbyshire can probably assemble enough runs this season – particularly in the Championship – but replacing Footitt is a different matter. It would be a much easier task if Andy Carter stays fit. His wickets come well below 30, but he has managed only 29 first-class matches since his debut in 2009. A tall fast bowler, he is able to mix the short stuff and yorkers.

Bright young thing

Matt Critchley was initially seen as a promising legspinner, but he made history when he became Derbyshire’s youngest first-class century maker with 137 against Northamptonshire last May. It was enough to bring him his first professional deal. Proof of developing legspin would also be enthusiastically received.

ESPNcricinfo verdict

Derbyshire’s youngsters have the talent to kick on, but not enough to fill their impressive new media box or make a concerted challenge for honours

Bet365 odds: Specsavers Championship, Div 2: 12/1; NatWest Blast n/a; Royal London Cup n/a

David Hopps is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo @davidkhopps

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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