Derbyshire cricket advisor Kim Barnett has revealed his team should be aiming for a top four finish in the County Championship this season.
Barnett wants the team to kick on this year after a disappointing 2017 season where they finished eighth in Division Two.
He said: “It’s easy to say we want to be competitive but now we want to be better than that, so I would say top four of the championship and in the one day we want to be aiming for quarter-final onwards.”
Derbyshire are on the up after a grim few years for the club and Barnett insists that a strong foundation is key for the club to improve.
He said: “I think we are very solid and that can only help the players. We have a very good coaching structure, made up of people with a real affinity with the club and everyone can see that we are doing better which is great to see. John, Steve and Dominic have all been there and they want to help the guys get through and improve as cricketers.”
Barnett, who made over 800 appearances for Derbyshire, says the mood is good at the club and wants the optimism to translate on to the field.
He added: “I want the players to play for Derbyshire and to have a smile on their faces. In previous years we have been bottom of the league and it is difficult to play with a smile when that happens because it can be miserable at the bottom end, but I like to see them play with a smile and do their very best for the club.”
After a record-breaking season, the club will also be looking to build on last season’s success in the T20 Blast where they reached their first quarter-final since 2005. Barnett has explained how specialist coaches Dominic Cork and John Wright have stressed how important bowlers are in the shorter form of the game.
He said: “I would’ve thought that a dynamic batsman would win you trophies but John and Dom insist it is the bowling. It is so difficult to bowl and if you find five good bowlers, it will probably win you matches.”
The club has clearly targeted this area and have had a busy winter recruiting ahead of the forthcoming campaign as international players Ravi Rampaul and Mitchell Santner join to make up a formidable bowling attack, aiming to improve on last year’s improving campaign.
Derbyshire have a tough challenge in their opening County Championship fixture when they host recently relegated Middlesex on Friday (April 20), but after a strong finish to last year’s competition, there is a definite sense of forward momentum at the 3aaa County Ground.