Wayne Madsen believes emerging players have strengthened the Derbyshire squad and given the team confidence heading into the summer.
Alex Hughes enjoyed his best season to date in 2017 and topped the club’s averages in first-class and 50-over cricket, whilst Matt Critchley’s performances were rewarded with a second ECB Overseas Placement in Australia.
Madsen, who himself scored 1,441 runs across all forms last year, believes the improved consistency of the younger players can contribute to improved performances this summer.
He said: “The signings we have made have added strength to the squad, mainly in the bowling attack. There is more strength in that department and it gives the rest of the squad a lot of confidence.
“We showed the sort of cricket that we want to play at the back end of last season and we want to hit the ground running and take that into the start of the season.
“If we can continue that this season then we’ll give ourselves a great chance of rewarding supporters with home performances.
“It’s brilliant for the team to see the emergence of those guys who have stepped up and performed consistently at first-team level.
“Alex [Hughes] has been a consistent performer for a good few years and was rewarded last year, not just by the way he played, but by being capped by the club.
“It’s great to see how he’s developed and I’ve followed his development pretty much since I arrived at the club.
“And [Matt] Critchley as well has really kicked on and by all accounts he’s doing well out in Australia at the minute, scoring runs and taking wickets.”
With two months to go until the start of the season, the 34-year-old has switched his focus to skills-based training, with one eye on the visit of Middlesex to The 3aaa County Ground, starting on Friday 20th April.
Madsen added: “I feel extremely refreshed. It was nice to get away and have a bit of a break, but equally it’s good to be back in training with the guys and build up to April.
“For me it’s about getting prepared skills wise. To this point it was about getting the body ready for the six months, but now I want to step up my batting, bowling and fielding.
“They’ve been in Division One and we haven’t played them for a few seasons, so it’s nice to be playing them again and challenging ourselves against some of the best players in the country.
“They’ve got a good mix in terms of batting and bowling so it will be a good test and challenge for us to see where we are at as a squad.”