“WE AIM to play fearless cricket” was the message to fans from Derbyshire County Cricket Club’s new captain Wayne Madsen as his team entered the new season — and he has certainly delivered on that promise.
Madsen took over the reins at Derbyshire during the winter following the shock retirement of Luke Sutton.
The South African-born batsman, who signed for Derbyshire back in 2009, is relishing the chance of bringing success to the County Ground - and isn’t worried about shouldering the extra responsibility.
“It will be a good challenge and I’m really looking forward to it,” commented the 28-year-old earlier this month.
“We will aim to play fearless cricket. We are a young squad and I think we have nothing really to lose and everything to gain. We can go out and play positively.
“We haven’t got a massive squad unlike some of the bigger counties, but I think one of the things we do have is a really good team spirit and that is going to be key for us.”
Following an encouraging pre-season campaign, which included the annual tour to Barbados, Madsen is keen to continue the progress made in recent years.
Last season, Derbyshire finished fifth in the LV= County Championship Division Two with five wins, and went close to qualifying for the knockout stages of the Clydesdale Bank 40 competition, finishing third in their group behind Sussex and Middlesex. It was a different story, however, in the Friends Life t20, Derbyshire finishing third from bottom in the North Group.
This year, the captain is eyeing a one-day trophy - or at the very least reaching the knockout stages of the cup competitions.
And on the matter of the four-day game, Madsen said: “You always go into the season looking at promotion and winning the division, that is the ultimate goal, but you obviously have to be realistic.
“Over the last few seasons we have made a gradual improvement, and last season we took good strides forward. If we can finish above where we did in the championship then I think that will be a pretty good achievement.
“Making a good start is important, but I don’t think it’s the be all and end all. If we don’t get off to a good start, it’s a long season, six months. But it’s easier when you get off to a good start. It settles everyone down. Hopefully, with the preparation we have put in, we hit the ground running.”
And Madsen couldn’t have asked for a better start in their opening LV= County Championship Division Two match against Northamptonshire, big knocks from Dan Redfern (110), Ross Whiteley (83), Martin Guptil (127) and Paul Borrington (98), followed by a career-best 6-33 by spinner David Wainwright on his debut, gave Derbyshire a thrilling 220-run victory in the final session.
Then in a low-scoring clash at Glamorgan, Jonathan Clare was the hero with career-best match-bowling figures of 11-57. Needing to chase down 233 to win, the hosts were skittled out for 102, with Clare taking 6-40 in the second innings, as Derbyshire made it two wins out of two.
“Dave Wainwright is going to play a big role for us, having a front-line spinner is going to be massive,” the skipper admitted.
“The guys who have performed last season, I’m looking for them to continue and for everyone else to step-up and raise their game. I think on the whole we have got an exciting squad and if everyone chips in we will be playing good cricket.”
Madsen is also looking towards some of the younger players to make an impact: “Ross Whiteley, Daniel Redfern, Paul Borrington, Tom Poynton, these sort of guys, it’s their time to step-up so it will be good to see how they perform.”
And on a personal level, Madsen, a right-handed batsman, has his own goals: “In four-day cricket it will be to bat for long periods of time.
“I had quite a few decent scores in one-day cricket last season, so it will be to make sure I finish off games.”
* The interview appeared inside the 2012 edition of Stumped!, the Buxton Advertiser’s free guide to the local cricket scene, published on Thursday April 19.