The record of three wins out of the 16 match campaign speaks for itself. Whilst some great successes were achieved in One Day matches in April, May and June, it was not until July 2nd that the first Championship victory was logged. Even after that initial landmark, the County were in danger of the wooden spoon until two further wins in August effectively secured the anonymity of seventh place.
The first win of the season ranks among the most remarkable in the whole history of the club. Nearly 100 runs in arrears on first innings, Notts were set 458 by Worcester in the fourth innings of the game – the best they had even achieved was 419 back in 1926. The Notts batsmen smashed this long held record and hit 461 for the loss of just three wickets. The second success, also against Worcester had some curious similarities. Again Notts were behind by 100 in the first innings. This time they had batted first. At a second attempt Notts made 423, leaving Worcester over 300 – victory was by 61 runs. The penultimate match saw the third win – a relatively easy canter against a down at heel Derbyshire.
Bowling was a major factor in the seven defeats Notts saw that summer. In six of these Notts failed to bowl a team out under 300. An analysis of the batting shows the Notts scored 8,401 runs in 2001, as against 7,015 the previous year and their average per wicket rose by about three-and-a-half. On the whole therefore the batsmen scored sufficient runs. The man who was most missed was Franks. Playing in only five games, his appearance at no.7 or no.8 would have made a fair difference.
No praise can be too high for Pietersen. Checking through the Notts batting tables since 1864, only twice has a debutant run-getter topped the averages – Bolus in 1963 and Sobers in 1968. Neither of those two great players were youngsters in their first first-class season in England. Pietersen’s innings against Derbyshire at Trent Bridge will be recalled by those lucky enough to witness it as one of the outstanding innings of all time. The manner in which he scored his runs was equal to the number he made.
Blewett achieved all that could be expected of him and he wiped away the dire season he had with Yorkshire. Afzaal played some noteworthy innings, a fact acknowledged when the selectors called him up for England. Young Shafayat seized the opportunity and looked like a promising young player.
Of the bowlers, Smith alone captured his wickets at less than 30 runs a man. For a player new to county cricket he survived the constant grind of the circuit better than all the other Notts seamers. He also took the most wickets for Notts in all three competitions. As in the batting the side missed Franks, 13 wickets against his 42 in 2000 – he appeared in only five games.
Chris Read, ignored by the selectors, was ever-present. His batting figures were the best of his career and he averaged 30 for the first time. An extremely competent wicket keeper. With a strong batting line-up the county require another quality bowler to hoist them into the top division.
GOES ALL IN