Luke Sutton has praised the flourishing Derbyshire Academy as the Club’s investment in young cricketers continues.
The Falcons 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, Paul Borrington and Dan Redfern.
The team finished fifth in last season’s LV= County Championship Division Two – a marked improvement from the previous year where they finished bottom of the table.
Captain Sutton believes Derbyshire can continue to improve – and it’s thanks to a new found confidence within the youthful ranks.
“Building for the future is absolutely the best thing for Derbyshire,” he said. “You have to invest in your young players.
“Our Academy has been fantastic and produced some really good cricketers who we hope will develop and help improve the side over the years.
“I don’t see it being a ten-year goal. I believe we will be reaping the rewards soon enough. But we will take each year as it comes.
“I don’t like to make predictions for next year. But I think we will definitely see improvements.”
The former Lancashire wicketkeeper was delighted to see his old Club win last season’s LV = County Championship after 77 long years.
Sutton played his part in developing the team at Old Trafford and he hopes to emulate this at the County Ground by passing on his vast knowledge and experience.
“We are definitely building for the future here at Derbyshire,” he added. “We hope to create an environment that players will want to be part of.
“I have played at three different counties – under a lot of different coaches – and hopefully I can pass on wisdom to the younger players.”
And Sutton doesn’t fear losing Derbyshire’s young talent to other counties once they have developed into established cricketers.
“The young players seem dedicated to the Club and they remain ambitious about what we can achieve here,” he said.
“We hope to keep them at Derbyshire. We don’t want to see any of them go – and together we can be a very good team.”
Sutton hailed last season as a positive year, although he has become worried with the chaotic schedule of the modern day county game.
However, he believes the Club’s young players are adapting well to the hectic schedule.
“It was a really positive year last year and it was great to see the young players developing,” he said.
“We have come a long way from being bottom of the LV = County Championship in 2010 to finishing fifth with five wins 12 months later.
“We also finished third in the CB40 competition so it was a good year.
“But with the hectic schedule, it has become impossible to prepare properly for each game.
“Matches come quick and fast and it is really difficult to get ready for each individual game, especially when a LV = County Championship game is immediately followed the next day with a Friends Life t20 fixture.
“But the young players are adapting to it and players are becoming more used to the busy schedules with which they have to contend.
“The England team are a very good side with a lot of young talented individuals, so county cricket must be doing a good job developing players for the national side.”