It’s fair to say that it has been a below-par season back in Division Two for Derbyshire CCC.
However, Mark Footitt’s call-up to the ECB’s England Performance Programme Bowling Camp this winter has provided them with the perfect tonic.
Footitt has been nothing short of outstanding this season in a team which has struggled to mount a serious promotion push.
The 28-year-old has enjoyed his best season in 2014, claiming over 100 wickets in all competitions.
This tally includes five five-wicket hauls and career-best figures of 6-48.
Footitt will spend three weeks in South Africa taking part in an extensive bowling training camp with ECB coaching staff, during which he will aim to earn a call-up for the England Lions next year. He reflected on the call-up, saying: “It’s been a good year and it’s nice to get recognition for that.
“It’s an exciting prospect and I can’t wait to get out to South Africa. “I’ve given myself the best chance and I’m thrilled that I have been selected and recognised for my efforts this year. “It’s been an incredible season and something that doesn’t happen to many people.
“To take 100 wickets in all competitions is a brilliant feeling. “I hope I can impress in South Africa and it can lead to further involvement with the national set-up, starting with a possible England Lions tour in the New Year.” Footitt joined Derbyshire in 2010 and the left-arm paceman is the first Derbyshire player since Dominic Cork to earn this level of international recognition. Derbyshire’s Elite Performance Director Graeme Welch said the call-up was well-earned.
He said: “This is a great achievement for Mark and the Club.
“It’s fitting recognition for being the leading wicket taker in the country.
“Our ambition is to produce match-winning county cricketers capable of going on to international honours.
“Mark is already setting a great example in both respects.
“He’ll add something different to any bowling unit because he’s left-arm and consistently up around 90 miles-an-hour with the ability to swing the ball. “It’s a great opportunity for the lad to show what he can do.
“We’ll all be rooting for him and will support him in every way we can.”