A broken jaw may rule Tony Palladino, Derbyshire’s leading wicket-taker in the County Championship last season, out for the first month of the new campaign.
On the second day of nets in the county’s pre-season tour to Barbados, the 28-year-old seamer was hit on the left side of the face in fielding practice.
He was involved in catching drills at the end of a session in which he had bowled two good net spells to show he was on his way back to full fitness following an operation in the winter to repair a hernia.
After taking a high catch, Palladino joined the rest of the group to wait his next turn and was struck by a stray ball.
A break was confirmed by X-ray at the hospital in Bridgetown and Palladino has flown home to see a specialist in England to decide whether his jaw needs to be wired.
“At best, he could be out for two weeks and the worst case scenario is that he’s out for six,” said head coach Karl Krikken. “The specialist has seen the X-rays and he wasn’t optimistic.”
The injury leaves Derbyshire’s seam bowling options badly stretched with the start of the season less than two and a half weeks away.
Tim Groenewald is recovering well from his knee operation but is not yet bowling again, while Mark Turner is recovering from abdominal surgery and is bowling at around 80 per cent in the nets.
To add to their troubles, Dan Redfern jarred his left knee in the field as Derbyshire were well beaten by Leicestershire in a 40-over match yesterday as both sides saw their first competitive action of the tour.
A partnership of 212 in 26 overs between Josh Cobb and Jacques Du Toit gave the Foxes what was to be an impregnable early advantage in the game at North Stars CC.
Cobb, one of the heroes of Leicestershire’s Friends Life t20 triumph last season, was in outstanding form as he hit 133 from 108 balls with 12 fours and seven sixes. His second 50 to reach his century came off only 25 balls.
Du Toit added a fine 85 off 70 balls with seven fours and four sixes and though Derbyshire did rein back the Foxes’ charge after breaking the second-wicket partnership, a total of 306 for eight was far too many.
Though Chesney Hughes, who was the pick of the Derbyshire bowling with two for 38, opened the reply with a solid 59 off 53 balls with eight fours and a six, they soon fell off a demanding pace and were bowled out for 172 in 30 overs.
Former Kent seamer Robbie Joseph took a wicket with his second ball for his new county and finished with one for 24 in four overs but veteran left-arm spinner Claude Henderson hastened Derbyshire’s demise by taking five for 28 in his eight overs.