Knight relishing Twenty20 role for Derbyshire

Derbyshire CCC. Tom Knight
Derbyshire CCC. Tom Knight

TWO BOWLERS are in the running to become Derbyshire CCC’s leading Twenty20 wicket taker of all time as the Falcons face a double header, which starts tonight (Friday) away at Northamptonshire.

But if the start of 17-year-old Tom Knight’s career is anything to go by – he could be threatening top spot in the not too distant future.

Tim Groenewald’s 27 wickets have edged him past his fellow fast bowler Steffan Jones, who has taken 26 wickets, in the race to overtake Tom Lungley’s record of 30.

And with tonight’s North Group match away to Northamptonshire Steelbacks (6.50pm start) to be followed by the County Ground’s first-ever Saturday evening fixture, against Leicestershire Foxes (5.30pm start), there is every chance for one of the duo to move into poll position.

Academy graduate Knight, meanwhile, has five wickets in three matches after making his debut against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge just over a fortnight ago, and is expected to feature in both forthcoming matches. He has also been added to the England & Wales Cricket Board’s Development Programme for the next 14 months.

“I didn’t expect the opportunity of playing Friends Life t20,” Knight said. “I thought if I got the call it would be for the longer form of the game. But I am delighted to have got the chance and hopefully I can continue to do well in the remaining 11 games.”

Knight’s most eye-catching performance to date came in the recent fixture against Worcestershire Royals, when he took 3-16 from four overs only for Derbyshire to fall 15 runs short in the run chase.

Knight admits to feeling mixed emotions at the end of that game but he is confident the team can bounce back: “Batting isn’t going to come off every time in Twenty20 cricket – but it is pleasing that both the batsmen and bowlers have fired during the tournament,” he added.

“Hopefully we will be able to get the combination right in the next few days and get up that table. A couple of wins and we are right back in it. It is still wide open.”

The Falcons are two points behind the quarter-final qualification spots heading into their weekend double header with games in hand on the top four.