To say Derbyshire’s T20 campaign so far has been a mixed bag of results would be an understatement.
Having lost their first four games, the Falcons’ fortunes have turned after finding four victories in their last four outings, leaving them sixth in the T20 Blast North group and level on points with Notts Outlaws.
The recent run of results included a dramatic double over rivals Yorkshire Vikings, which was sealed with an emphatic 77-run victory at Emerald Headingly on Monday (30 July).
Just two days earlier Matt Critchley played a starring role in the first victory over their neighbours, striking 20 from the final over of the contest from Tim Bresnan to snatch a win for the Falcons when all seemed lost at Chesterfield.
Despite his vital role in that win, there’s still some questions over Critchley’s role in the Derbyshire side but the 21-year old is pleased to be making an impact at the County Ground.
“I see myself as both a batsman and bowler," he said.
"I always want to be in the game because it gives me the most opportunities to contribute to the team, so I regard myself as a genuine all-rounder.
“I’m not kidding myself that I’m going to go out and do things every time but if I’m batting at six which is a position I want to hold down and I’m the first or second spinner then it opens up a lot of options.
“I’m still learning and trying to get better every day but to be playing such a vital role at the club at 21 is only positive for me.
“There’s a lot of responsibility on me which is only good because it brings the best out of my cricket."
Whether he’s an all-rounder or more of a bowler who can display an element of power hitting, Critchley is certainly garnering some attention.
He was named in the England Lions squad alongside the Outlaws’ Paul Coughlin back in March and already has admirers throughout the game after also spending time in Australia on the ECB’s overseas placement scheme.
During that time in Australia, Critchley had the opportunity to work on his bowling with former international leg spinner Stuart MacGill and the youngster is still taking advantage of that connection whilst being back in Derby.
“I spoke to Stuart for about 40 minutes the other day and all the work he’s done with me is hopefully starting to pay off.
“I’m in contact with him all the time and I send him a few videos, so he can give me a few pointers.
“He’s brilliant and I can’t repay him enough for the tricks he’s passed on and the confidence he’s given me in my bowling."
It's Derby time! Notts Outlaws play local rivals Derbyshire Falcons under the lights of Trent Bridge on Thursday August 2 in the T20 Vitality Blast, from 6.30pm. Secure your seats here...