County cricket: Derbyshire coach Karl Krikken relishing maiden Division One campaign
By Joe Drabble. Last Updated: 08/04/13 1:34pm
Derbyshire head coach Karl Krikken believes youthful exuberance, combined with a mix of Caribbean class, will be the key to his side's chances of avoiding a swift return to Division Two of the LV= County Championship.
The perennial wooden spoon contenders took the second tier by storm last summer, landing their maiden league title on the final round of fixtures with a memorable home victory over Hampshire.
The bookmakers have given the Falcons little chance of surviving the drop in their first-ever season in Division One, but Krikken has warned against writing off his youthful outfit.
He told skysports.com: "There's enormous excitement, more excitement this year then there has been for a number of years. All of our supporters and the backroom staff can't wait to get going again.
"Last year we were rank outsiders to even be in the top three but we won the league. We've got a lot of good young players here and a lot of belief from within.
"It's new to us (Division One), a few of us have played one-day cricket, but only a very few and a lot of them are youngsters and I believe we're the youngest side in the division by some distance."
Derbyshire pulled off one of the signings of the winter by agreeing a two-year contract with West Indies lynchpin Shivnarine Chanderpaul - the eighth highest Test runscorer of all-time.
Chanderpaul is the latest in a distinguished list of Caribbean cricketers to play for the county with the likes of Michael Holding and Ian Bishop enjoying successful spells with the club in previous years.
Krikken added: "We have a great tradition of West Indian cricketers who have all done really well here. Mikey was magnificent, Bish was a legend and we're sure Shiv will continue that (tradition). His record lately has been superb - In his last five Test knocks he's had a couple of 100s and a double century. It's a great coup for us and we want him to cement our batting order and I'm sure he will.
"We obviously get him as a player but in the dressing room he'll be immense for us to talk people through batting time and staying in the middle. We have a lot of good young batsman who can play shots but I'm sure Shiv will cement the fact that you can't score runs sat on your backside on the pavilion."
Division One new-boys Derbyshire will start the domestic campaign away at defending champions Warwickshire on Wednesday.
And Krikken has urged his players to "hit the division hard" against the Bears, who will begin life under Dougie Brown after Ashley Giles stepped down to take charge of England's limited-overs sides.
He said: "It's a good match to pitch yourself and a good benchmark to work from. They've made a few changes to their backroom staff but it will be tough.
"We'll see how we go early doors but we want to hit the division hard and have no let up. We'll take each day as it comes, every day will be a testing one I'm sure, but we have a very decent young side."