Shiv in demand
England county Derbyshire hope to pull off a coup by signing West Indies star batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul for part of the 2013 season.
Regarded as one of the weaker first-class counties for several years, Derbyshire have enjoyed a resurgence in recent times and were promoted to Division One of the County Championship for the first time in 12 years as champions of Division Two last season. It was the first time they have achieved promotion having previously contested Division One cricket by default in the first season of split divisions.
No other county had experienced so long in the bottom division.
The signing of Chanderpaul would underline the new ambition of the club.
Chris Grant, the club chairman appointed in March 2011, swiftly demonstrated his desire to shake things up at the club by sacking John Morris, the long-serving director of cricket, in the middle of a game barely six weeks later. Karl Krikken was appointed in his place and led the side to promotion in his first full season in charge.
Chanderpaul would add solidity to a batting line-up that sometimes appeared fragile in 2012.
Derbyshire gained more bowling bonus points than any other side in Division Two but finished only mid-table in terms of batting bonus points. While the club have a strong unit of seamers, several of their “home grown” young batsmen – the likes of Ross Whiteley and Dan Redfern – are still developing and it was the overseas players, Martin Guptill and Usman Khawaja, who topped the county’s batting averages in 2012.
Derbyshire have already added former Essex and Middlesex top-order batsman Billy Godleman and former Warwickshire wicketkeeper Richard Johnson to their staff.
Godleman is the latest county player to seek the services of freelance coach and mentor, Neil Burns, who has been credited by Nick Compton and Monty Panesar as the man to have revitalised their careers.
Derbyshire are not the only county interested in signing Chanderpaul. It is understood that he, along with South Africa’s Hashim Amla and Pakistan’s Misbah-ul-Haq, is among Worcestershire’s targets.
The 38-year-old Chanderpaul has enjoyed sustained success in his previous stints in county cricket. In 2011 he played for Warwickshire, scoring three centuries and averaging 89.83 in five matches to help the club finish second in the County Championship, and he has had three spells at Durham, helping them to titles in 2008 and 2009 and averaging 58.26 for them in first-class cricket. He also played for Lancashire in 2010. (Cricinfo)