South African Test captain Hashim Amla admits there is an L plate on his back as well as a number despite his rating as one of the best batsmen in the world.
The 32-year-old has played 82 Tests but believes he is on the same learning curve as his Derbyshire team mates as he prepares for the first of his three T20 games for the county at Headingly tomorrow (Friday).
“T20 is it’s still a relatively new game and everyone is still learning. I’ve played about 70 games and that’s comparatively little for someone who has been playing international cricket for around 12 years.
“But that doesn’t just apply to T20, it’s the same for Test and one-day cricket, certainly there’s no doubt.
“I’ve always believed you learn until the day you stop playing so it’s about trying to keep an open mind and gain as much experience as you can throughout the years.”
Amla played T20 for Surrey last season and although he is best known for his exploits in the Test arena he still averages 29 in the shortest form of the game.
“I’ve enjoyed it a lot more in the last three years. When I first started playing I didn’t really understand it, coming from a bit more of a classical cricketing upbringing, but I’ve been fortunate enough to get some runs in the last few years so the average has gone up a bit.
“The domestic season back in South Africa has gone well in the last couple of years and it’s good to have an opportunity to play some here.
“There are times in the T20 game where you have to play a lot more high-risk shots but around the world you see cricketers who just play good shots and have been very successful in T20 cricket.
“It’s not all about slogging and hitting across the line and for guys like me it’s about hitting good shots and finding the gaps to keep the scoreboard ticking.
“A lot depends on the wicket, sometimes the wicket dictates it’s not all about fours and sixes. If it’s slow and it’s turning you have to be a lot more aware of playing for two’s and singles.”
Derbyshire won only one T20 game last season so there is definitely a lot of room for improvement.
“Team confidence comes with winning and playing good cricket, so if I can play a part in getting them off to a good start I will be happy,” Amla said.
Wayne Madsen is unlikely to play after breaking the index finger on his right hand in the County Championship match against Northamptonshire but T20 captain Wayne Durston hopes to recover from a knee problem to lead the team against Yorkshire.