Slater confident Derbyshire can keep progressing

Ben Slater, who says he is confident Derbyshire can build on the progress they have made this year.
Ben Slater, who says he is confident Derbyshire can build on the progress they have made this year.

Opening batsman Ben Slater is confident Derbyshire can continue the progress they have made this year when they return to action for the 2018 campaign.

Preparations for next season have already begun in earnest with the squad back in training at The 3aaa County Ground..

And the 26-year-old Slater says he is keen to build on all the positives gained from the 2017 season and possibly challenge for honours in all forms of cricket next term.

Speaking to BBC Radio Derby, the left-hander said: “If you look at our performances in the NatWest Twenty20, we could have perhaps made it to Finals Day if it hadn’t been for Shahid Afridi’s performance in the quarter-finals.

“I played the first couple of T20 matches and after that, to watch the lads and how well they performed, it was obviously disappointing to miss out in the quarter-finals. But we showed that we got the formula right and, hopefully, we can go one step further next year.

“Differently, I think the Royal London Cup 50-over competition was a bit disappointing. We started well and fizzled out towards the end.

“However, in the Specsavers County Championship, once we got the side together with Hardus Viljoen and Imran Tahir firing, we did well and that showed with the wins at the back end of the year.

“That’s all positive and the signing of Ravi Rampaul can only help us to take 20 wickets in matches. We showed last year that we can do that. Ravi can only strengthen us across all three formats.”

Reflecting on his own personal form, Slater said: “For the last 18 months, I’ve been playing cricket non-stop really, with two English seasons and the Australian summer in the middle of that. So to have a month or so off this autumn to refresh the body and the mind has been good.

“Hopefully I can have a good winter, training in Derby, get myself fit and work on a few things batting-wise.

“Times are changing and we have to be fitter as players. From now until Christmas, we will focus on fitness, with a little bit of skill work. It’s nice to come back and get fit before Christmas and then focus on what you want to focus on, cricket-wise, afterwards.”

Slater spent the winter of 2016 in Australia, playing first-grade cricket. “The standard was very good,” he recalled. “I was a bit surprised with some of the wickets, which were harder and tougher than I’d have liked as a batsman. But the whole experience stood me in good stead.”