Record-breaking New Zealand batsman Martin Guptill is set to arrive at Derbyshire tomorrow ahead of the start of the 2015 season.
Guptill arrives following a fantastic World Cup for both him personally and for the Black Caps, as they reached the final before succumbing to fellow co-hosts Australia.
It was his country’s quarter-final clash with West Indies that saw Guptill break World Cup records, hitting one of the greatest one-day innings of all time.
Guptill scored an unbeaten 237 off just 163 balls, which included 11 sixes and 24 fours, and in turn helped New Zealand register a mammoth 393-6, the best in a World Cup knockout match.
The 28-year-old ended the tournament as the highest run-scorer with 547 runs at an average of 68.37, including two centuries.
Wayne Madsen and Ben Slater both struck half-centuries as the Derbyshire batsmen enjoyed a good first day in their two-day friendly against Warwickshire at Edgbaston.
Given the first two sessions to bat, Derbyshire made a solid start with Slater and Billy Godleman sharing a 91-run opening stand, before Madsen, top scoring with 69, helped the visitors post 241-4 off their 64 overs.
Warwickshire batted the entire evening session, losing two wickets in the process to close on 110-2 after Varun Chopra had struck a very good 57.
Derbyshire openers Slater and Godleman enjoyed a 91-run partnership for the first wicket before the former was caught off the bowling off Mark Adair off the last ball before lunch for 55 (6 fours, 1 six).
Wayne Madsen is targeting a strong start to the new campaign which begins with a three-day university fixture against Cambridge MCCU, commencing on Sunday.
Derbyshire begin their final pre-season fixture, two-day friendly, against Warwickshire at Edgbaston tomorrow before traveling to Fenner’s Cricket Ground on Sunday for a three-day match against Cambridge.
Graeme Welch’s men then start their new LV= County Championship a week later against Lancashire at The 3aaa County Ground commencing on Sunday 19 April.
“Pre-season has been fantastic,” Madsen said.
3aaa (Aspire Achieve Advance) has extended its partnership with Derbyshire County Cricket Club as the UK’s leading national apprentice training provider focuses on using the power of sport to engage with apprentices and employers.
The deal, worth more than half a million pounds over five years, includes the extension of the stadium naming rights of The 3aaa County Ground (pronounced verbally as The 3a County Ground) until the end of 2020.
The partnership will also see the newly-redeveloped Pavilion renamed as The 3aaa Pavilion in addition to 3aaa continuing its sponsorship of the Club’s NatWest T20 Blast shirt through to 2018.
The two parties launched their partnership in March 2014 when 3aaa become the Club’s first ever ground naming rights partner.
Since then, 3aaa have become the UK’s first national training providers for apprenticeships to be awarded an “Outstanding” rating by OFSTED and the Club has continued to make progress with over £1million invested in The 3aaa County Ground facilities.
Graeme Welch says the Club is on the hunt to secure cover for Sri Lanka star Tillakaratne Dilshan during the middle part of the 2015 season.
Dilshan will be available for two LV= County Championship and up to four NatWest T20 Blast fixtures in June, before leaving to compete in the Caribbean Premier League.
He will return to The 3aaa County Ground at the start of August for the remainder of the season, which leaves a four-week period for which Welch hopes to find a high-quality international to cover.
“We will have to look at the budget, of course, but we do hope to find someone to come in for the middle part of the season," he said.
Tony Palladino claimed three wickets and Alex Hughes top scored with 40 as Derbyshire enjoyed a good run out on day two of the friendly against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.
After the first day was washed out, both teams agreed to bat 60 overs on the second day with Nottinghamshire batting first.
Palladino was the pick of the Derbyshire bowlers as the visitors dismissed Nottinghamshire for 270 off the final ball of their innings.
The paceman claimed the early wicket of Greg Smith (14), before dismissing England duo Alex Hales (21) and James Taylor (35), both caught by Wayne Madsen at slip, to return figures of 3-45 off his 10 overs.
Scott Elstone (2-21) claimed two late wickets, while Mark Footitt, Alex Hughes, Shiv Thakor and Wayne White all picked up a wicket apiece.
Martin Guptill will miss the second part of his stint with Derbyshire this season after being recalled to the New Zealand Test squad to tour England.
Guptill was already part of the Black Caps ODI and Twenty20 squads this summer, but his Test recall means he will join the touring party earlier than originally planned.
The 28-year-old, who arrives in Derby next week, will now be available for up to three LV= County Championship fixtures before joining the Black Caps Test squad at the start of May.
The powerful opener has earned the call-up after finishing the recent Cricket World Cup as the leading run scorer with 547 runs, which included a record-breaking 237 not out.
Ben Slater says that everything is in place for Derbyshire to mount a promotion challenge in the LV= County Championship this summer.
Slater believes that the squad has the ability to carry the exceptional form they showed at the back-end of 2014, and on the pre-season tour of Abu Dhabi, into the new season.
“We are all looking forward to the season ahead and the mood in the camp is good,” Slater said.
“We won three out of four games during our pre-season tour in Abu Dhabi and we played some good cricket while we were out there. It was good to get out playing again.
“We finished strongly at the end of last season and that has given us confidence. We have got the formula needed to win games and we need to carry on where we left off.
Derbyshire seamer Mark Footitt believes that further international recognition is just around the corner if he can replicate his fine form from 2014.
The 29 year-old left-arm paceman, was the country’s leading wicket-taker last year, racking up a tally of 84 wickets in first-class cricket at a superb average of 19.19, including six five-wicket hauls.
He claimed a total of 106 scalps in all three forms of the game last year, but has never featured for his country despite his growing reputation within the game.
Footitt doesn’t think a call-up is too far away and is keen to make an impact in a big year for England, with home series’ against New Zealand and Australia to come after their upcoming trip to the West Indies, before away tours to Pakistan and South Africa next winter.
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