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Barnett helps to let Godleman off the leash

Billy Godleman, who proved he can adapt his game with a matchwinning knock for Derbyshire. (PHOTO BY: James Williamson)
Billy Godleman, who proved he can adapt his game with a matchwinning knock for Derbyshire. (PHOTO BY: James Williamson)

He’s generally regarded as a patient accumulator of runs. But captain Billy Godleman proved he can adapt his game when firing Derbyshire to victory with a spectacular innings at Edgbaston last week.

Godleman had already demonstrated his versatility when proving he was capable of engaging the turbo in last season’s Twenty20 campaign. But his knock of 137 from 116 balls to defeat Warwickshire by 57 runs in the Royal London One-Day Cup was something else.

It was also vindication of the work put in during the winter with the club’s cricket adviser and former captain Kim Barnett, who gave Godleman tips to make his batting more positive.

Barnett said: “I’ve heard how good Billy was as a teenager but what I saw in him, especially since he got the captaincy, was a tendency to over-egg the responsibility of it all, thinking he was batting for everybody and must not play any shots.

“As well as the mental aspect, he also didn’t have the set-up, in technical terms, to enable him to play with more panache or more style. So I’ve been working with him to open his mind to that and to say: remember what you were and what you could be.

“There’s a flair element and an enjoyment, and he works hard at his game, so once he was given the information, he hammered it.

“What I can see now is someone who is a bit more Gower-esque. Someone who is hitting the ball around the park. He is more balanced, less defensive and less prone to getting stuck in a rut.”

Barnett also believes Godleman can become an even more dangerous batsman in T20 cricket. He added: “I hope he has the freedom to play proper cricket shots, rather than deciding he must hit the next ball for four, which makes it a lot harder because you’re playing by numbers.”

Godleman said: “The main thing we have worked on is trying to create body positions at the crease that enable me to open up more areas to score.

“I am very fortunate to pick Kim’s brains and hear his thoughts. His coaching and expertise have been brilliant for my personal development.”