By Dave Clark
Dan Redfern believes Leicestershire can emulate the 2012 Derbyshire side he helped win LV= County Championship Division Two and gain promotion to the top flight for the first time since 2003.
The 23-year-old made the switch from Derby to Grace Road over the winter after a disappointing 2013 campaign.
And the middle-order batsman, who also bowls useful off-spin, sees no reason why he can’t be part of a second promoted side in three seasons.
Leicestershire failed to win a Championship match last season as they finished bottom for the second time in three years, but Redfern insists a young squad, which has also been complemented by experienced seamer Charlie Shreck during the off-season, is capable of rapid improvements.
“Personally I see a lot of similarities between the two sides,” he told ecb.co.uk. “There are a lot of youngsters, like there were [at Derbyshire] in 2012, who probably didn’t think they were going to win that league or get promoted.
“It was only halfway through when we found ourselves top of the league. I think that’s the same here; there’s no reason why halfway through we can’t be pushing for promotion.
“It sounds like a long shot after what happened last year here, but with the players that they’ve got there is no reason why that can’t happen. And I think you’ll find that if it does happen, halfway through the season then guys will start believing and that’s where you get a push on.”
Redfern contributed 792 runs, including his maiden century, to Derbyshire’s Division Two success in 2012.
But the former England Under-19 star found life in the top flight difficult, making seven appearances and passing fifty on just one occasion.
Now Redfern is hoping that the short trip down the M1 will rejuvenate his fortunes.
“It was something that needed to happen for me,” he said of his decision to switch counties. “Playing at Derbyshire I was in a bit of a comfort zone.
“I needed to try and branch out and do something different and it’s a new challenge here.
“It’s a club with vision – I’ve seen that from being here in the last month. They produce good players and they’ve got a young squad with experience built in who want to go somewhere.
“I didn’t hit form early on in the season [last year]. If you asked the guys at Derbyshire I don’t think they felt out of their depth at all – it just spiralled into one bad result after another. It’s hard to get out of that losing habit just like its good to be in a winning habit.
“It was a disappointing 2013 obviously; I’ve decided to move on and hopefully get the form of 2012 back at Grace Road.”
On his goals for the season, Redfern added: “Obviously 1,000 runs for a batter is a big thing. I haven’t done it yet so that’s something I really want to do this year.
“I want to help Leicestershire win games, obviously. I think my one-day cricket could improve and that’s a big area that I’m looking to improve on.
“Leicestershire are a good one-day side. I think that almost takes care of itself. As a one-day team they’ve been competing for titles and I think that should continue here.
“The four-day, obviously last year wasn’t a great year for the boys, but from what I’ve seen the hard work here is all geared to improving that and that’s the main goal ahead of anything.
“We’re not really looking too far ahead. We’re looking at that first game and the first three games to get a win or a couple of wins, and if you can do that anything can happen. You get on a roll like Derbyshire - we won early games and it was a bit out of the blue really.”