Critchley hopes India experience will aid Derbyshire cause
Matt Critchley wants his passage to India to become a pathway that leads to success for Derbyshire this summer.
The 22-year-old all-rounder recently returned from a six-week ECB-backed placement to Mumbai which included training with Indian Premier League franchises and working with leg-spin legend Anil Kumble.
Critchley had previously played abroad in Australia, where he worked with Stuart MacGill, and in the Caribbean with the England Lions where he impressed former England director of cricket Andrew Strauss.
Now he wants to take his experiences of playing on the sub-continent into the new season which began for Derbyshire this week with a three day home match against Leeds Bradford MCCU.
Critchley, who travelled to India with Leicestershire and former Derbyshire spinner Callum Parkinson, said: "The ECB, as part of the scholarship, asked myself and Parky if we wanted to go for five or six weeks and we didn't hesitate.
"I learned a little bit about my game and cricket in general which hopefully will help me have a strong season.
"We trained quite a bit, there were a few other counties out there so we joined in with them and worked with some other Indian coaches.
"Also we trained with a couple of the IPL sides which was good experience to see how they go about things and what is similar and different to what we do.
"It was interesting to play in those conditions because you think it's going to spin all the time but the pitches didn't turn that much and were pretty flat.
"So it was nice to bat but hard sometimes to find a way to bowl at some of their batters so it was a challenge but hopefully good experience."
But it is the master-class with Kumble that Critchley believes can help him improve as a leg-spinner.
"I learned a lot from him and it's good to work with someone of that calibre as a player and as a coach," he said.
"I had a morning with him, a one-to-one session where he watched me bowl and we talked about leg-spin in general and how potentially I could look to add to my game and try and improve it tactically and technically.
"I think sometimes it can get too much because you hear a lot of voices from a lot of different people but when you hear it from someone like that you want to listen because he's so good.
" I might never meet him again but I've got that information and at some point I can try and implement it.
"You can't be a worse player for hearing his point of view and trying to learn from his experiences because after all, people I've now worked with have taken hundreds and hundreds of Test wickets so it's invaluable to get that information from them."
Both Critchley and Kumble are over six feet tall and employing height as an advantage was another valuable lesson that he took from their session together.
Critchley added: "We spoke quite a bit about using my height on flatter pitches because in England it doesn't spin all the time so you have to find a way to challenge the batsman, whether it's using the crease a bit more or trying to get pace and bounce off the pitch because getting spin past the edge doesn't always get you wickets."