“It may take two years, maybe four or five – but I believe I can get there.” – Dan Redfern.
Has there ever been a better time to be an English Cricket fan?
The Test side are number one in the world, the ODI team recently white washed World Champions India and the Country are producing a plethora of young talented players.
22-year-old Alex Hales, 20-year-old Ben Stokes, 21-year-old Jos Buttler and 22-year-old Jonathan Bairstow have all recently impressed in England colours.
And after committing his future to Derbyshire by signing a new three-year deal, batsman Dan Redfern believes he can emulate his county counterparts as he aims to get into the England squad within five-years.
The 21-year-old has flourished at the County ground scoring 775 runs in 13 first class matches this season – and this has given him renewed hope of a future England call-up.
The former under-19 international has been boosted by the recent inclusion of many young players in limited-overs cricket.
“Obviously I would like to follow them,” Redfern said. “It may take two years, maybe four or five but I believe I can get there.
“I am still young, only 21 – and it is great to see players my age breaking into the side.
“People like Jos Buttler have been fantastic on the Twenty20 stage, and there are a lot of players my age who are able to hold their own and do well at international level.
“But, as I said, I am only young and I have a lot of time to develop, improve and get into the team.”
The current Test team are a tight group of high class players, but with their full-on schedule, it has ironically left greater opportunities for the youngsters to get a chance to play International cricket in the one-day team.
But many cricketers still see the longer form of the game as the pinnacle – and Dan’s dream has always been to play Test cricket as he insists it is the sport’s greatest honour.
He said: “There is always a debate about what form of cricket is best, but for me it is Test cricket.
“It is an honour playing for your country in any format, but the greatest honour is playing five-day cricket, and it always will be.
“99% of cricketers would say Test cricket is the pinnacle. Everyone dreams of playing it and it is still the highest standard you can play at.
“But there will always be the 1% of players in the world, like the Kieron Pollards, who make money from Twenty20’s and therefore will prefer it.”
Redfern has been reflecting on Derbyshire’s 2011 season where they finished fifth in LV= County Championship Division Two, but the club aren’t really aiming for immediate success as their plans are firmly on the future.
The Club recently announced a policy of backing home-grown players, quickly followed by the handing of long-term contracts to Academy graduates Tom Knight, Ross Whiteley, Tom Poynton and Paul Borrington, as well as Redfern.
As the young players develop, the 21-year-old believes success is only a matter of time as the Club attempts to return to the top flight of county cricket.
“I think 2011 was a good season,” Redfern said. “At Derbyshire we are just trying to build for the future and now we are blessed with many young good players coming through the ranks.”
“We have a good crop of young talented players and over the next few years we will improve and gel as a team – and together we are capable of gaining promotion next year.
“I have always wanted to play First Division cricket and I hope to do this with Derbyshire.
“I have never really thought about moving clubs. I would love to help guide Derbyshire there and I’m confident we can do it.
“With the young players we have coming through, in two or three years we can be a really good side.”
But with a hectic schedule, which could include five-days of cricket a week, the left-handed batsman rarely has much free time – but when he does get some time away he tries to remain active.
“I have two dogs so I take them for walks whenever I can,” he said. “I like to play a bit of golf and snooker, things to keep you active.
“When travelling to games we tend to play a bit of poker on the bus, it’s always good to keep yourself entertained and poker actually helps your concentration.
“We have started watching more DVD’s like The Office and Extras, anything the lads can get their hands on really. Just try and relax before a game.
“Now I have six weeks off and I hope to spend them doing things to help me relax and recuperate before we get back into the swing of things for what I hope will be a successful 2012.”