By Glen Robertson
Wayne Madsen would swap all of the personal honours he has collected this week if it meant Derbyshire would retain their Division One status.
The county’s skipper was named the Cricket Writers' Club County Player of the Year and Derbyshire County Cricket Club's Player of the Year but admitted he would give them both up in an instant for another crack at the top tier of the LV= County Championship in 2014.
“I’d have much rather have stayed up in Division One than received the awards,” he told ecb.co.uk. “We play a team sport and you’re striving to play at the best level.
“It’s been, personally, an honour to have been able to pick up the awards but it’s been a little bittersweet.”
Derbyshire came close to achieving a great escape in their first year at the level following a Division Two title-winning campaign in 2012.
Having failed to achieve victory any of their first 10 matches they hit back in style, winning three from four to leave them with a chance of survival. But defeats to champions Durham and Warwickshire in their final two outings meant they ended the campaign 24 points adrift of seventh-placed Nottinghamshire.
It left the Durban-born Madsen disappointed that his side could not find their form earlier on in the year.
“We probably lost it in the first 10 games,” he said. “We didn’t play well enough and looking back it’s extremely frustrating because we created that belief that we could win only in August and we needed to do so earlier.
“It’s obviously a step up in Division One and next time we’re back we’ll have learnt our lessons and will be making sure we get ourselves off to a good start.
“We’ll take a lot of confidence from the wins we did get; there were three fantastic wins and we probably should have had another one against Surrey. Had we won that one it would have been four in a row and we’d have been in a fairly safe position.”
Despite Derbyshire’s disappointing campaign, Madsen enjoyed a superb season with the bat. He was the first man to reach 1,000 championship runs and ended the campaign with 1,221 to his name - only Gary Ballance compiled more in Division One.
“At the start of the year if I was told I’d be the first one to 1,000 runs I would have said you’ve probably been dreaming,” said the 29-year-old. “I was delighted with my own personal performances.
“Derby isn’t the easiest place to bat. I’ve adapted my game to batting on the surfaces where it does seem to move around a little bit.
"Obviously I’m extremely proud with what I’ve been able to achieve with the bat this year and the amount of runs that I was able to score.”
The aim at the club now is to ensure a swift return to the top tier.
“There’s a huge determination that now we’ve had a taste of Division One we will be striving to make sure that we get back,” said Madsen. “It’s where you want to be, it’s where you want to be playing your cricket.
“We spoke about it as a team and we want to do everything in our powers that we possibly can to make sure that we get back up straight away at the first time of asking.”