He spoke after seeing his side crushed by an innings and 36 runs inside three days against Nottinghamshire.
“It was a very disappointing game for us,” he said. “We’re playing really poor cricket at the moment. Our bowlers were the bright sparks for us again and our catching was excellent but we batted poorly and you can’t compete in this game if you can’t put a score on the board.
“The ball was swinging a bit but if you can’t play a swinging ball you shouldn’t be playing at this level. We’ve got out cheaply twice, we haven’t even got an individual fifty within the game and we were no competition for the opposition.
“Our batting has been poor all season and I can’t put a finger on why. It’s just one of those rolls you get on and the confidence goes. They are going out there almost looking for a good ball and they are getting it.”
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Nottinghamshire had been all out for 307 in reply to Derbyshire’s first-innings 149, seamer Fynn Hudson-Prentice finishing with career-best figures of five for 68.
Ben Duckett’s 69 not out overnight remained the top score despite the left-hander having to be replaced mid-innings after England’s Covid emergency saw him picked in the new squad for the ODIs against Pakistan announced before play began.
The withdrawal of Duckett, who had been keeping wicket because Tom Moores is unwell, meant a senior debut for Dane Schadendorf, the 18-year-old Zimbabwe Under-19s wicketkeeper who joined Nottinghamshire last December.
Despite Duckett’s absence, Nottinghamshire added 51 to their overnight lead of 107 before Derbyshire claimed the last three wickets, Schadendorf playing nicely for his 24 on his unexpected first-class debut, going on to take four catches in his maiden duty with the gloves.
Hudson-Prentice chalked up his five-for with his first over with the second new ball when Ben Hutton was struck in front, Luke Fletcher picked up a couple of boundaries before hitting Ben Aitchison to backward point and Schadendorf was bowled by Luis Reece.
Derbyshire lost Tom Wood in the seven overs before lunch as he edged Fletcher to first slip and though Brooke Guest began the afternoon with three boundaries he was caught behind off an inside edge as Schadendorf grabbed the ball above his head to claim his maiden first-class victim.
Wickets in consecutive overs from Paterson plunged Derbyshire into more trouble as Leus du Plooy lost his off stump to a beauty and Luis Reece was leg before to one that came back.
Critchley’s bold approach brought him seven fours but he fell on the stroke of tea as Joey Evison found an edge, ending a 45-run partnership with Harvey Hosein, and Derbyshire suffered a further blow five overs into the last session as Hudson-Prentice flicked Fletcher lazily down the leg side the end coming quickly as Alex Thomson edged low to second slip, Michael Cohen was lbw to Paterson and Fletcher claimed his fifth via a fourth catch by Schadendorf.