Derbyshire have appointed experienced former fast bowler AJ Harris as the new head of the Cricket Derbyshire Academy in partnership with the University of Derby.
The highly respected 40-year-old, who has previously served the Club as Second XI Coach and Bowling Coach, will now lead the quest to develop Derbyshire’s next home-grown England cricketer.
Harris enjoyed a 17-year professional playing career with Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire, taking 451 first-class wickets and a further 225 dismissals in the limited-overs forms of the game.
He will be assisted by former Second XI Coach Stephen Stubbings who brings a further 13 years and 139 first-class matches of experience as a top-order batsman.
Both Harris and Stubbings are already pursuing their ECB Level 4 coaching qualification - the highest accolade in English cricket coaching.
The latest profit signifies the Club’s progress towards long-term sustainability and continues the significant turnaround since Chris Grant’s (pictured) election as Chairman in 2011 on the back of a £187,037 loss.
The Club has achieved major rises in Membership, Ticket Sales and other commercial income in 2013 which allowed increased investment in the playing and coaching budget to become a possibility.
Ticketing and Membership income soared by 87.6% as strong marketing initiatives in the first year of the Proud to be Derbyshire brand ensured that the opportunities provided by promotion as Champions to Division One, the signing of Shivnarine Chanderpaul, the excellent summer weather and a winning start to the Friends Life t20 campaign were maximised.
Ant Botha says Derbyshire has a great opportunity to create something special under the new Elite Performance structure.
Botha arrived in England on Wednesday to begin his new position as Elite Performance Coach working with the Club’s extensive spin bowling group as well as assisting with coaching batsmen.
The 37-year-old spent four seasons alongside Graeme Welch at the County Ground as a player from 2004 to 2007, scoring 2,093 runs at an average of 28.28 and taking 139 wickets at 36.20.
The duo also worked together at Warwickshire from 2010 to 2011 and Botha is excited to team-up with his former team-mate again.
“I’m happy to be back at Derbyshire,” he said. “I arrived on Wednesday from Australia, it was obviously a long flight but I’m happy to be here and I can’t wait to get started.
“For the last year I have been coaching grade cricket in Adelaide which was a great stepping stone for me. I learnt a lot managing 40 people and I think it has given me a great base to build upon in my new role with Derbyshire.
The Club has received an overwhelming response to the players’ fundraising efforts for the pre-season tour of Abu Dhabi.
The players are so committed to finding funds for their trip to the United Arab Emirates that they have arranged their own fundraising event - Players' Luncheon on Wednesday 5th March – and a special auction ran across the Club’s Twitter account.
The Twitter auction, which began on Wednesday 19th February, will put up 15 unique pieces of Derbyshire memorabilia - including a 2012 LV= County Championship Division Two Winner's Medal – for supporters to place their bids.
Thanks to the generosity of supporters, the Club has already raised just under £1,000, with seven items still to be sold – including the 2012 Winner’s Medal.
YMCA Derbyshire has announced that over a hundred local people and businesses will be joining Derbyshire Chief Executive Simon Storey sleep rough at the County Ground in support of their annual Sleep East event.
Unprecedented numbers have signed up for this year's charity event hosted by Derbyshire County Cricket Club. It will be the second year that the Club has thrown open the gates of the County Ground for a second year in aid of the charity’s annual sponsored sleep-out on Friday 28th February.
YMCA Derbyshire is aiming to raise £19,000 to enable it to continue providing a safe front door to vulnerable young people. The sleep-out will be the charity’s fourth annual Sleep Easy event and they are asking local people, businesses, churches and other groups to take part themselves or support others who are.
The aim is simple; to spend a night challenging themselves to sleep rough while raising money to help change the lives of vulnerable young people locally. All the money raised will go directly to local YMCA Derbyshire projects to protect vulnerable young people facing homelessness, help them build brighter futures to give them a safe front door.
New Elite Performance Coach John Sadler says he's excited by the challenge at Derbyshire and impressed by the talent at the county.
The 32-year-old joined the Club's backroom team at the start of February after forging a reputation as one of the most promising young ECB Level 4 Coaches in the country. He will work closely with the Club's batsmen as well as leading the Second XI.
"It's an exciting time for me and the Club," Sadler said. "I am quite a young coach, fresh out of the game and the fact that I played here makes it a little bit more special.
"Over the last month I've been able to observe the lads and it's clear they are all working hard, especially for this time of the year.
Derbyshire are continuing to introduce new innovative training tools as they aim to raise the bar in preparation for the 2014 season.
The squad has embraced new Eye Tracking technology which monitors each player’s line of vision whilst batting, bowling, wicketkeeping or fielding.
Welch hopes the implementation of such training techniques will provide competitive advantage come the start of the new campaign in April.
“We are always trying to find ways in which we can gain little advantages as we prepare for the new season,” Welch said.
“Eye Tracking will allow us to pinpoint exactly what each player is looking at and we, as a coaching team, can use this data to enhance performances out in the middle.
Derbyshire Captain Wayne Madsen is getting behind a project to help children in Derby learn how to live a first-class healthy lifestyle and reduce their risk of heart disease.
The Heart of Cricket project, funded by a Healthy Heart grant from national charity Heart Research UK and sandwich franchise SUBWAY® stores, will be delivered by the Cricket Derbyshire Foundation, and is being championed by batsman Madsen.
The project, which starts in March, will reach 20 primary schools, over four weeks, in the most deprived areas of Derby, and will use cricketers as role models to demonstrate how a healthy heart is the result of important lifestyle choices. The sessions will also discuss how professional cricketers train and eat before matches.
Derbyshire will face international outfit New Zealand on Wednesday 12th March as part of their pre-season tour of Abu Dhabi.
The itinerary for the trip to the United Arab Emirates has now been confirmed, with the squad flying out on Friday 7th March spending nine days based at the state of the art Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium before returning on Sunday 16th March.
Derbyshire will compete in three fixtures against fellow first-class county Worcestershire, beginning with a 50-over fixture on Sunday 9th March and concluding with a two-day match starting on Thursday 13th March.
The fixtures against Worcestershire will bookend a Twenty20 fixture with the Kiwis, who have chosen Abu Dhabi as their base ahead of the ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh.
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