Tom Poynton is looking forward to the challenge of becoming Derbyshire’s new number one keeper, but he also insists that he can play a key role down the order with the bat.
Former captain Luke Sutton called an end to his 14-year professional career in December, which he spent six years at the County Ground, and now 22-year-old Poynton, who had a prolific season with Derbyshire 2ndXI, will take over the gloves in all forms of the game.
The right handed batsman is working harder than ever to be fit and ready for the new season where he hopes to grab this opportunity with both hands.
“It will be a big challenge but I am looking forward it,” he said. “I have been in and out of the side now for a few years, but now it is my chance to show what I can do and establish myself as the number one keeper.
“I had a good developmental year for myself in 2011. I wanted to get some big hundreds and I wanted to push on and perform well in the one day games we had at the end of the year, which I did so I was pleased with my year.
“I just had to concentrate on what I could do and that was to score runs. Keepers are determined really by how many runs they score and so far my keeping has been my strong point and my batting has played second fiddle up until now – I’m happy with how my batting has come along over the past few years and I am confident that I contribute more with the bat next season.”
Poynton has been part of the Derbyshire set-up for the whole of his cricketing career and has learnt everything he knows from the county’s current head coach – and he now believes his keeping style reflects this.
“I grew up with Karl Krikken being my mentor over the years all the way back since I was 10-years-old, so I will say I have a bit of Krik in me definitely,” he added. “I haven’t got as many of the mannerisms he had, I am not quite in your face but I am quite chirpy, I let the batsman know I am there.
“As a keeper I hope to bring more energy to the team, run around and motivate the lads. I will probably bat in the lower order, but we are likely to have a long batting order this year and I will support the guys at the end of the innings.”
The Falcons squad have returned back to the club after their Christmas break and are working hard to be fit and ready for a year in which Poynton believes the side can compete well in all competitions.
“The lads are training hard and we have come back in surprising good shape, we are eating well and really attacking the training hard. There are really good spirits at the moment and we have got a great group of lads.
“There is a massive potential and talent within the team and it will just be a matter of consistency next year which will affect how we do it all competitions next year.
“It is the hardest pre-season I have been involved in while being at the club. We are a young side and we have got some great old heads, the core nucleus of the side will be young and it will be time for us to stand up and be counted.
“Promotion I think is a real possibility; you never know with a young side, I think we have got a good chance. Don’t count us out of anything, that’s what I would say to everyone at the minute, don’t count us out.”