Wicketkeeper-batsman Richard Johnson spoke to derbyshireccc.com about his first full season with the Club, his hopes of recapturing his role behind the stumps and Derbyshire’s one-day chances in 2014.
After a brief loan-spell, the 25-year-old signed terms with Derbyshire at the conclusion of the 2012 campaign and he went onto feature in 13 LV= County Championship fixture last season, compiling 556 runs.
Due to the form of Tom Poynton, however, Johnson found himself playing in the unfamiliar position of specialist batsman for most of the campaign. But the former-Warwickshire man insists he is just happy to play his part during an enjoyable first year with the Club.
“On the field things have been tough for us, but in terms of me settling into life here at Derby I couldn’t have asked for anything more,” he said.
“I was just delighted to be playing first-team cricket. Yes I am a keeper and I do love keeping. Of course I do want to keep wicket whenever possible, but I saw it as a massive compliment that the management felt they could select me as a batsman alone.
“I look back at my loan period in 2012 with such fond memories. To have had a chance to meet the lads and Krikk during that brief stay has allowed me to be here today, and I’m really grateful for that.”
Johnson was also asked to perform a variety of roles up and down the batting order; opening in the four-day fixture at Chester-le-Street as well as occupying a number of the middle order positions at various stages throughout the season.
“I’ve got so much respect for the openers,” Johnson added. “I don’t know how they do it! I batted there up at Durham and it was really tough.
“I also batted three and four in the one-day competition as well as five, six and seven in Championship cricket - so I have experienced pretty much all batting slots.
“I do, however, believe my strongest place is in the traditional keeping positions of six or seven. The ball tends to be a little softer, and you can play a few more shots - but Madders and Krikk know that I’ll play any role asked of me.”
Johnson enjoyed limited-overs success during his stint with the Bears, clinching the 40-over title in a Lord’s final back in 2010. And from past experience, the ‘keeper-batsman believes the Falcons can have a successful white ball campaign next season.
“Obviously Derbyshire’s recent history in one cricket hasn’t been great, but we showed more than glimpses last year that we’re capable of putting good victories together.
“I think the younger lads being an extra year older and more experienced will help.
“But when I think back to the 40-over final win at Lords with Warwickshire, I don’t feel we’re a million miles away and with some hard work we can get there.”
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