Cow Corner

Bad boy Dernbach might just be worth the effort

Cow Corner

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When Northants batsman David Willey defied interviewee convention during T20 finals day and baldly stated his dislike of Jade Dernbach, there did not seem to be too much disagreement.

In a radio interview after his 60 from 35 balls during the T20 final against Surrey, BBC Test Match Special’s Charles Dagnall suggested that he had taken a shine to Dernbach’s bowling.

"Good," Willey grunted. "I don't particularly like the bloke."

There were no supportive tweets from England team-mates, no outcry from supporters. Most people probably thought it was a fair assessment.

With his body art, his over-slicked hair and, yes, his South African background, Dernbach wouldn’t ever be the England fans’ darling. His bowling hasn’t exactly endeared him to them either.

Dernbach made his early international reputation as a specialist death-overs bowler, but in the past year batsmen seemed to have worked him out. He over-used the slower ball in the final overs, and lacking the element of surprise, paid the price in his figures.

Limited-overs coach Ashley Giles remained a fan, though, and Dernbach seems to have taken some good advice concerning his stock ball.

He is fast, capable of bowling 90mph, and now tries to bowl just short of a length at that speed.

Crucially, he no longer tries to take a wicket every ball – he now trusts in the speed of his stock ball.

He retains the slower ball, but no longer feels the need to bowl it every second or third delivery.

It has transformed Dernbach from a liability to potentially England’s most dangerous white ball bowler.

He was the pick of the England attack during the 27-run win over Australia at Durham on Saturday, taking 3-23 from his four overs.

His throat-high bouncer to get James Faulkner was 90mph and pretty unplayable, while his slower ball to get Shane Watson at Southampton on Thursday possibly matches Chris Cairns’ dismissal of Chris Read as a classic of the genre.

His performance at Durham has probably guaranteed his position as England’s main bowler for the ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh in March.

Though for the sake of team harmony, it is probably just as well Willey isn’t quite yet on England’s radar.

Nick Royle

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