Test Match Sofa
Godleman looks for fulfillment at Derbyshire
By Andy Wilson
Billy Godleman believes that Derbyshire is the right environment to help him fulfil his potential as a future England batsman. At the age of 23, the tall left-hander has still yet to live up to the huge promise he showed when Middlesex gave him a first-class debut at the age of 16 and put him on a professional contract a year later but he still has plenty of time on his side.
Essex did not turn out to be the right move he hoped it would be when he decided to leave Middlesex in 2009 and he was released at the end of last season.
Now the former England Under-19 star, once feted as the best young batsman in the country, has signed a two-year contract to make Derbyshire his third county and Godleman says the chance to work with head coach Karl Krikken and batting coach Dave Houghton persuaded him to join the LV County Championship Division Two champions.
“They have been major factors in my signing,” he said. “I spent time with Krik in some ECB work at Loughborough and, to be honest, the time I had with him was very limited but what really drew me in the time we have been talking about coming to Derby is his passion and energy for the club.
“I had more of a relationship with Dave at the ECB. I always found him very uncomplicated and to the point in how he delivered his expertise, because I think he has got an outstanding knowledge of batting and cricket. He has a real simple way of communicating that with other people and he has real belief in my ability.
“I want to be a part of cementing Derbyshire as a force in English county cricket but first and foremost in my decision to come here was the chance to work with Krik and Dave again. This is a fresh environment and seems to me a really good culture here. I just want to be a part of that and add as much value to it as I can, on and off the field.
“From the outside looking in, it seemed there is a real togetherness and a culture developing that is much bigger than individual needs. It seems there is a real purpose that everyone buys into and that has shown in some of the cricket I saw on TV and in some of the conversations I’ve had with people who have played against Derbyshire.
“I’m really excited to be involved in that environment because everyone has to do their role as well as they can but there’s a bigger purpose than that. I really see at Derby the opportunity to play in all three formats of cricket and develop not only my four-day game but my limited overs game as well. I want to put myself back on the map in terms of a prospective international player, which is obviously my dream.”
Godleman has played 69 first-class matches and has a career average of just over 30, including five centuries. That is not nearly the record his ability suggested he was capable of in the early years at Lord’s and he has acknowledged that he has plenty of hard work to do to get back on track.
“I started in county cricket very young and I was successful very early,” he said. “Middlesex were my boyhood club and it was a tough decision to leave them but at the time I believed for my career to develop it was the best decision. I decided to go to play for Essex and I had a tough time. In the last couple of years, things have not gone how I would have liked them to have gone.
“There were a couple of issues technically and mentally that I needed to look at and I’m in the process of doing that work, so hopefully the learning that has taken place in those three years at Essex will help me perform for Derbyshire.
“I just didn’t make enough runs. The important issue was why I didn’t make enough runs and I’ve had these six weeks since I was released to reflect on why that was the case. I’m in the process of improving in those areas. The first ball I face next season is all that matters to me now. I’ll play that as well as I can and earn the right to face the next one. I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself.”
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