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The making of Alastair Cook | By Tony Palladino

AlastairCookPaceman Tony Palladino's latest column for The Cricketer Magazine, as he offers a brilliant insight into the mind of his former team-mate and current England Captain Alastair Cook.

I will never forget the day I first met the future England captain Alastair Cook. Essex v Somerset in the ECB two-day under-17 semi final at Shenley. Cooky had been drafted in to the team as a 15-year-old fresh from a youth world cup and looked a little nervous as he walked into the changing room. 

Chatting to him in the warm-up his voice hadn’t quite yet broken and still had some high-pitched notes to it but he seemed very calm and keen to impress. Opening the batting, I think he made only 20 or 25 but the technique and temperament that he’s exhibited throughout his career was plain to see. This lad was a player.

Over the next few years I watched that young choirboy grow into the man he is today. In the dressing room you couldn't ask for a better team-mate, always willing to help out with throw downs or to hit some catches. His personality is as you see on tv. Never flustered and generally always calm. He knows how to enjoy himself though and with his best friend Mark Pettini in tow, a good night was always had if the opportunity arose. 

Read more: The making of Alastair Cook | By Tony Palladino

Quick-Fire Questions with Shiv Chanderpaul

ShivChanderpaulWest Indies batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul is the next man to sit down with former all-rounder Jake Needham as he answers quick-fire questions about his Derbyshire team-mates.

This is the next in a series of quick-fire interviews with members of the playing and coaching staff as they reveal all about their fellow Derbyshire colleagues. 

Who is the comedian in the team?
I would have to say Tina [Mark Turner]. He’ll see anything and make a joke out of it. He’s a really funny guy.

Who is the worst driver?
So far the guys have been pretty steady. I haven’t had any issues with them so far!

Who has the safest pair of hands?
I would say Madders is the one I’ve seen who has taken some seriously good catches for us.  I must say that the rest of us have dropped a few, so I will have to go with Madders.

Read more: Quick-Fire Questions with Shiv Chanderpaul

Storey: We're investing in our ambition for future success

SimonStoreyDerbyshire Chief Executive Simon Storey says 2014 Membership balances good value with the desire to invest in the Club’s ambition for future success.

Membership is now on sale and including the chance to make savings of £15 if purchased by the 31st January Early Bird deadline.

All regular season matches are once again included meaning Members can enjoy the three-day match against India in July at no extra charge, as well as eight home LV= County Championship matches and a combined 12 games across the Royal London One-Day Cup and NatWest 20-over competitions.

Storey has been pleased with the initial response and hopes supporters will get on board as the Club continues in its quest to bring sustainable success to the county.

“We are very sensitive to the difficult economic times and with the 2014 Membership packages, we’re balancing the need to offer good value Membership with the desire to invest in the Club’s ambition for success,” he said.

Read more: Storey: We're investing in our ambition for future success

Elstone: I want to be a threat with bat and ball

ScottElstoneNew recruit Scott Elstone says he can have an impact in all formats with both bat and ball in 2014.

The former Nottinghamshire all-rounder recently signed an incremental contract for the upcoming season after enjoying a successful trial period with the Club in 2013.

The 23-year-old, who made is List A debut for Derbyshire in August against Essex, has since been training with the rest of the playing squad in Derby as preparations begin for the new season.

He hopes a winter with the Derbyshire coaching staff will help him break into Karl Krikken's side as the Club look to compete on all fronts next summer.

“Watching the lads play in Division One last year was a big thing. I would love us get back into the First Division in the near future,” Elstone said.

“I’ll be doing everything I can, as I’m sure my team-mates will too, to get us back in the top flight.

Read more: Elstone: I want to be a threat with bat and ball

2014 Fixture list announcement date confirmed

Fixtures2014The County fixture list for the 2014 season will be announced on Tuesday 26th November – and supporters can find out first who Derbyshire will be facing next season at derbyshireccc.com.

Defeat on the final day of the 2013 season confirmed relegation for Karl Krikken’s side who, despite claiming three LV= County Championship Division One victories in the Club’s first year back in the top flight, will ply their trade in the second tier next season.

The squad reported back for the start of their pre-season training programme last week and will be at the County Ground five-days-a-week throughout the winter to ensure they are physically prepared for the new season.

Captain Wayne Madsen will once again lead the side after the 29-year-old recently signed a new three-year contract committing him to the Club until the end of the 2016 season.

Madsen will join Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who enters the second year of his deal with the Club, and paceman Mark Footitt, who put pen-to-paper on a new contract keeping him at county until the end of the 2015 season, in the Derbyshire line-up for 2014.

Read more: 2014 Fixture list announcement date confirmed

Home-grown paceman signs for 2014

MattHigginbottomMatt Higginbottom has signed an incremental contract with Derbyshire County Cricket Club for the 2014 season.

The Cricket Derbyshire Academy in partnership with the University of Derby graduate made his LV= County Championship debut in Derbyshire’s nine-wicket victory over Sussex in August.

In three Division One appearances, the 23-year-old claimed 10 wickets at a shade over 35, including season-best figures of 3-59 in the win over Middlesex at the County Ground.

He was also named Second XI Player of the Year after claiming 32 wickets at 20.50 apiece in all competitions for Stephen Stubbings’ side.

Higginbottom joins fellow Academy graduate Ben Slater in signing an incremental contract for the upcoming campaign.

Read more: Home-grown paceman signs for 2014

The importance of team chemistry | By Tony Palladino

TonyPalladinoPaceman Tony Palladino's latest column for The Cricketer Magazine, as he takes a look at what team chemistry really means and how it could have a major say in the Ashes.

The Ashes is soon to begin and once again England are favourites to emerge victorious. Why is this? Well, not only have they won the last three series but, to put it more bluntly, they are the best team. From top to bottom England are superior and deserve to be odds-on with the bookies. The Aussies may as well give up now because obviously England will win. The best team always wins, doesn't it?

Luckily for us in sport this is not always the case. It would be boring to watch a sporting event knowing that the favourite was going to win. So why does the underdog sometimes pull through and win? I believe some answers can be found by looking at a team’s chemistry and how they gel together.

Australia need to be cohesive this winter if they are going to beat England. By this I mean they need to play together, work together and fight together. All pulling in the same direction. No egos or prima donnas. If they can do this and harness the home crowd’s buzz, it might give them that extra push they need to cause an upset. 

It's well documented that Shane Watson is not well liked by Michael Clarke but is always going to play when fit because he is one of Australia’s best players. As a coach should you drop your best players if you think it's the best for the team? It’s a decision I'm sure many Premier League football managers have to go through week in and week out.

Read more: The importance of team chemistry | By Tony Palladino

Shivnarine Chanderpaul set for 150th Test

ShivnarineChanderpaulOn November 14th 2013, Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar will play his highly-publicised 200th and final Test match.

But tomorrow’s date will also hold a certain significance for one softly spoken, obdurate and hard-working batsman currently on the Derbyshire staff.

West Indies great Shivnarine Chanderpaul will compete in his 150th Test and the world will be watching.

When the second and final Test comes to a scheduled close on Monday, Chanderpaul and Jacques Kallis will be the last two cricketers who began their careers in the 1990s still competing on the international stage.

Shiv has enjoyed a career spanning over 19 years and is a member of the illustrious 10,000 Test runs club – and he’s still going.

“It’s not every day that someone gets to their 150th Test match,” he said.  “It’s a milestone for me and I’m looking forward to it.

Read more: Shivnarine Chanderpaul set for 150th Test

ECB announce rule changes for 2014

RuleChangesThe ECB has announced a series of changes to its rules and regulations for first-class cricket from the start of the 2014 season.

This will include the wider use of the Super Over concept, the advent of coloured crease markings and a new 60-second cut off time for incoming batsmen in Domestic Twenty20 cricket.

The key changes, which were proposed by the ECB’s Cricket Committee and approved by the ECB Board yesterday, will also see the ECB adopt a number of regulations which are currently used at international level into its three main domestic competitions.

Commenting on the changes, ECB Chief Executive David Collier said: “These changes are designed to make our domestic game even more spectator and viewer-friendly as well as bring the county game into line with rule changes which have been successfully implemented at international level by the ICC.

"They will come into force along with the new county schedule next season and are the product of extensive consultation and discussion with all our key stakeholders in the domestic game.”

Read more: ECB announce rule changes for 2014

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