Tony Palladino is making the most of his chance to prove he should be considered a first-team regular in county cricket.
The 27-year-old bowler left Essex, the club he joined as a 15-year-old, to join Derbyshire over the winter and is the joint leading wicket-taker in Division Two of the County Championship after the first three rounds of matches.
Only Derbyshire team-mate Tim Groenewald can match his 15 victims and Palladino’s have come at an average of 17.20.
He made only 38 first-class appearances for Essex in eight seasons after making his debut in 2003 and took 86 wickets at a shade over 32 but left frustrated that he had never been able to show his true worth to the club.
“I always felt I should have played more at Essex when I was fit and I was disappointed that I didn’t,” he said.
“I loved every minute of my time with Essex. I’ve always tried 100 per cent but I was out of favour sometimes and I always felt like I was the easy option to drop, which I found really annoying.
“I remember one occasion in particular in 2008 when I played four games at the start of the season, took 16 wickets and got dropped – basically because I was easier to drop than the other bowlers.
“I never complained. I just got on with my job. That I found really frustrating about my time there.”
Palladino took nine wickets in the match against Middlesex at the County Ground this week and Derbyshire head of cricket John Morris is delighted his winter signing has settled in so quickly – but not surprised.
“He’s not a kid. He’s been around county cricket long enough to know his way around it, so I’m not surprised,” said Morris.
“The reason why we signed him was because we thought he was potentially better than what we had here. Having got to know his character better over the last few weeks, it doesn’t surprise me how well he has done.
“He’s come in and done a brilliant job for us. He’s the type of bowler who knows how to look after his figures because he bowls in good areas and does a good job.
“Having a run in the team, which is something he didn’t always have at Essex, has given him an opportunity and he’s grasping it with both hands.”