Krikken 'wants to build team, not buy'
With Division One cricket secured for the first time since 2000, Derbyshire could be forgiven for planning to spend big this winter to aid their chances of staying in the top flight.
Yet chairman Chris Grant, speaking as his county’s players and fans celebrated the LV= County Championship Division Two title at Derby, was adamant that is not head coach Karl Krikken’s way.
Derbyshire sealed the crown shortly after 3pm with a six-wicket win over Hampshire at the County Ground, having chased a target of 196 inside 42 overs with six wickets to spare thanks principally to Usman Khawaja’s unbeaten 72.
Grant, a 43-year-old with a financial fortune that allowed him to retire from the City at 35, became chairman in March last year. Three months later he appointed Krikken as head coach in place of John Morris, who had parted company with the club.
Krikken has transformed a side who were wooden-spoonists in 2010 and finished fifth in Division Two last year to table toppers in a season and a half. Now they will play in the top flight for the first time since the year the championship split into two.
“We’ve been told all week that we now need to bring in some wise old heads, seasoned campaigners,” Grant said.
“I don’t honestly believe that’s Krik’s way. He wants to build a team, not buy a team and I think you’ll see anyone he brings in fit in a very similar mould: young players that he believes he can add value to their game.”
Krikken, who described his side as “ultimate underdogs” shortly before the season began, himself laid out the few areas Derbyshire will look to recruit in.
“I think we’ll try and strengthen the batting a little bit and maybe we need a couple of back-up seam bowlers if we need one or two,” said Krikken, who has every faith in the current crop.
“They’ll get better. I’m sure of that because there’s one over 30. We’ll see how we go in Division One next year. It’s been a three-year plan. Now it might be a five-year plan because these guys in four years' time are going to be one hell of a side.”
Krikken no doubt hopes that future team is still led by Wayne Madsen, whose first season as captain has been a revelation. Madsen himself paid tribute to the change in approach to Morris.
“It’s the relaxed atmosphere around the changing room,” he said. “It’s been fantastic.
“The energy and enthusiasm that he brings to the squad. Him and his coaching staff, it’s just been fantastic this year.”
Grant was just as effusive in his praise for Krikken who, along with Madsen, has delivered Derbyshire’s first silverware since the 1993 Benson & Hedges Trophy.
“All credit to Karl Krikken who has moulded what is essentially a homegrown side into winning team, which is absolutely fantastic,” Grant said.
“I’m delighted for our long-suffering members. We’re very well aware of out not so illustrious history of winning things but it’s nice to give them something to cheer about.
“It’s nearly 20 years since we won a trophy so a bit of silver in the cabinet again.”
Grant, who along with those speaking to him, had to take cover as the players sprayed Champagne from the pavilion balcony, reflected on what the title meant to him.
“It’s absolutely brilliant for me personally. It’s a money can’t buy kind of thing,” he said.
“I’ve been very lucky in my career etc to have accumulated a bit of cash and to be able to give something back to my home county, the county I grew up in, the county I played my local village cricket in is absolutely brilliant - as we’ve just been showered in very expensive Champagne.”