Billy Godleman encouraged as Derbyshire prepare for start of Vitality Blast

Derbyshire will again have to go without home comforts when they begin their Vitality Blast T20 campaign next week.

By Nigel Gardner
Friday, 21st August 2020, 10:01 am
Billy Godleman is confident Derbyshire can have another good run in the Vitality Blast.
Billy Godleman is confident Derbyshire can have another good run in the Vitality Blast.

The Falcons will play all their group games away because the Incora County Ground at Derby is being used by the ECB as a bio-secure venue.

But the fact matches will be played at empty arenas and Derbyshire's impressive performances away in the Bob Willis Trophy games has given skipper Billy Godleman encouragement ahead of next Thursday's opener against the Leicestershire Foxes.

"The fact there are no crowds probably does neutralise home advantage and there are some teams around the country who aren't playing at home so we aren't the only one in that boat.

"I'm very much about reacting and dealing with what's happening in the moment so until we get to that I don't know how it will be and trying to make forecasts can be unhelpful at times.

"As we've seen in these four day games, we've played three away from home and we've done favourably. That doesn't mean that will translate into the T20 competition so we'll have to see how things unfold."

The atmosphere generated by vociferous crowds at Blast games will be absent, at least in the group stages, but to some extent the experience of playing with no spectators present in the BWT matches should help teams prepare.

Godleman said: "From my own personal perspective, although we don't really generate huge crowds anywhere in the country for four day cricket, not having a soul in the venue for these BWT games has been noticeably different.

"So I think it's been good to get used to that and although I know it's a far bigger contrast in T20 with the packed houses, music and television cameras but at least we've had some getting used to it over the last month.

"Once I get out into the middle it hasn't felt too dissimilar to me. I'm so engrossed in the game, especially as captain you've always got things to think about ,so it hasn't been as much of a contrast as I thought it would be although it could feel different in T20."

Derbyshire got to Finals Day for the first time last year but one of the players who was instrumental in the run to the last four could miss this season's tournament.

Former West Indian fast bowler Ravi Rampaul has spent lockdown at home in Trinidad and with commercial flights out of the island cancelled due to Covid19, it may not be possible to bring him over.

Rampaul was the top bowler in last season's Blast with 23 wickets and Godleman admitted: " "I'd like to think Ravi is going to be able to come back because he was one of our greatest assets last year.

"To do what he does up front with the ball, and particularly at the death, there's no one better in the competition in my eyes so to lose him would be a disappointment to us all.

"But as Dave Houghton (head of cricket) has said throughout the BWT campaign, to give our younger guys and new players opportunities to play and see what they can do is the only way they and we learn so if someone has to come in to fill Ravi's big shoes I think that could equally be a positive for the club."

The Falcons turned in some impressive performances in 2019, completing the double over Yorkshire, beating Lancashire at Old Trafford and knocking-out Gloucestershire at Bristol in the quarter-finals.

"We obviously played some really good cricket to get to the semi-finals and be one of the best four teams in the competition," Godleman said.

"We beat some very strong teams at home and away so we'll take confidence from that but as with every new season it's a different event so it will be about how we play in the first game at Leicester."