In 2012, due to the fact that the fixture list was kind to me, I became a member at Derbyshire County Cricket Club. Therefore, I spent many days in the summer driving up the A50 to Derby to spend my day at the County Ground. In the first half of the season I spent vast amounts of my time deriving enormous satisfaction that the Derbyshire team, as a whole, possessed an odd number of toes.

You see, Martin Guptill – their then overseas player – stopped counting his toes when he reached seven, with just two on one foot due to an incident in his younger days. However, his lack of shoe filling didn’t stop him possessing the twinkliest of toes when dancing down the wicket to opposition bowlers. The first day of the season saw him imperiously smack (there is no other word for it) Sri Lanka pace bowler Chaminda Vaas somewhere beyond the County Ground marquee, whilst two days later he notched a century so glorious it was truly a pleasure to watch.

Therefore, you can imagine my delight when I awoke on Monday morning to see that Marty is back at the County Ground for the first part of this summer as Derbyshire’s overseas pro. Not only was he a quick scorer, setting the Falcons innings off with a good start, but he had this knack of galvanising everyone around him. He oozed confidence, he built confidence, and he started the ball rolling towards Derbyshire’s victorious title chase. He was a great signing and I have every confidence he will be another great signing.

Put it this way, turning up at the ground knowing you’ll see a Derbyshire shirt emblazoned with ‘Guptill 31’ on the back is a sure-fire way to arrive in good spirits, with every confidence your team will win.

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