By Glen Robertson
Wayne Madsen is determined that Derbyshire's stay in Division Two is going to be a short one.
The club captain has big plans for the 2014 season as his side attempt to bounce back at the first time of asking following their relegation from the LV= County Championship top-tier and improve their form in one-day cricket.
But before all that, the 29-year-old is going to enjoy taking his mind off the sport and refreshing his batteries over the winter.
After a trip home to South Africa for his brother's wedding, the batsman - who was the first to reach 1,000 runs in first-class cricket this summer - will be concentrating on his other sporting passion.
“I’m doing quite a bit of hockey coaching over the winter,” said Madsen, who coaches Belper Ladies first team in the Midlands Premier League, in an exclusive interview with ecb.co.uk.
“Being an ex-hockey player, I love the game and want to stay involved but I can’t play in the winter from an injury prevention sort of view.
“I’d love to play but coaching keeps me involved. It’s nice to get away from cricket so I enjoy that side of it, taking my mind off cricket and changing sports for a little while.
“It keeps me busy and active and then I can get myself fit and ready to take off again in April.”
When the start of the next campaign comes around, Madsen and his Derbyshire teammates will again find themselves in the second tier. The Durban-born skipper led the side to the Division Two title in 2012 and is preparing a side to do the same again.
“Last year we were the champions and we played some great cricket to get there,” he said. “We just have to make sure that the consistency of our cricket is up to the standard we had in that last year; this year we haven’t quite had the consistency in our performances.
“We’ll be looking to improve and make sure that over the winter we’ll be working on getting back to what we created the year before.”
Derbyshire left themselves with too much to do in the championship this season. They failed to win any of their first 10 matches and despite emerging victorious in three of the next four, they were unable to overhaul Nottinghamshire and avoid the drop.
Next year, Madsen wants to see his side hit the ground running.
He said: “It’s always important to get off to a good start and the results in April and May are going to be key for us.
“We know from our experience from last year that when we got off to a great start it eased the pressure a little bit, going into the back end of the season playing with the lead that we had. We want to get off to a good start again.”
Madsen attributes the sudden turn of form in August to the momentum picked up during the limited-overs competitions. And he believes improved performances over 20 and 50 overs will help their form with the red ball as they seek to follow Northamptonshire's lead and combine a one-day trophy with promotion.
“We want to perform better in one-day cricket and that’s going to be one of our main objections over the winter,” said Madsen. “I believe we’ve got the players to do that but we need to be a bit more consistent in our performances.
“Our T20 cricket this year, I think it was probably the kickstart of our championship form. The intensity and energy showed in the T20 we took into August and it turned around our fortunes.
“I think it is crucial that you keep your momentum. Cricket is a momentum sport.
“I think Northants showed this year what it’s all about with the momentum they picked up in all three formats and it stood them in great stead.
“If we can do something similar to what they did this last year that’ll be fantastic for us. With the format how it is, with the T20 going to be on Friday nights, I think that’ll play an even bigger role this next year.”
With Derbyshire's immediate goal returning to Division One, off the field there are big plans that excite Madsen, who has two years left on his contract at the club and has no intentions of leaving.
“We are a great family club and we’re developing into a club which is showing the way in terms of having a business plan and we are developing the ground in the next couple of seasons,” said Madsen.
“We want to be a team that can compete near the top of Division One. The leadership team at the club are very determined to make sure we achieve that and I’m excited about the prospects at the club for the next few years.”