As the proud holder of British and Australian passports, it’s been a good week for me to show the purple one and leave the blue one in the drawer.
Australia’s early exit from the ICC World Twenty20 showed that they haven’t quite grasped the new form of the game yet, especially when it’s played in this part of the world. They probably play it beautifully in the southern hemisphere, but in England at this time of year it’s a bit more subtle than bowling at 100 miles an hour and hitting the ball as far as you can.
The Aussies haven’t played anything like as much Twenty20 cricket as the English boys, and after this I reckon you might see them finding space for more Twenty20 specialists. Put it this way, Dirk Nannes might not be available to play for Holland again.
My advice to any Englishmen enjoying Australia’s current demise in this Ashes summer is to watch out. They’ve got a couple of weeks now to lick their wounds, and they’ll be hurting and raring to go when they get back into action.
I’ve had the chance to watch plenty of the World Twenty20 games, with Derbyshire back in Championship action for the next couple of weeks before I’m back on board with them for the next round of domestic Twenty20 Cup fixtures.
It’s been a very different experience for me after spending so long at Lancashire, but it’s left me with great respect for the way a smaller club without the same level of resources goes about its business.
They have to scrimp and save at times but they work really well as a club, and the great thing for English cricket is that they do have plenty of talented players on the staff.
Look at a bloke like Dan Redfern, who’s only just turned 19. I batted with Redders for a long time in a Friends Provident Trophy game against Essex. It was a run chase and they had guys like Kaneria, Masters and Middlebrook who have been very good for Essex in one-day cricket over the last few years. But he ended up on top with a very handy 40-odd, and we managed to get the job done.
From what I’m told the challenge for Derbyshire is keeping hold of the talented guys that emerge, and getting them to kick on after the first couple of years. It’s been enjoyable for me being part of that process, and hopefully passing on a bit of knowledge.
I know it was a blow to Derbyshire to have the rain affecting the Championship game against Gloucestershire at Chesterfield last weekend so badly, because we thought that was going to be a pretty good wicket for our guys on days three and four.
But there’s no reason why they can’t bounce back and have a real crack at promotion from the Second Division – I think the big thing for the players is getting belief in themselves and how good they could be.