By Charlie-Talbot Smith
SAY WHAT you like about Jade Dernbach but at least the man is consistent.
Unshakeable in his self-belief both on and off the pitch, Dernbach has copped more criticism than any England bowler in recent memory.
That t20 debacle against the Netherlands put paid to Ashley Giles’ hopes of staying involved in the England set-up and they appear to have done the same for the Surrey seamer – not too soon if social media is anything to go by.
A controversial figure at the best of times, Dernbach was never going to go down quietly and the man himself insists he still has a role to play in the new Peter Moores era.
That self-confidence is admirable but Dernbach’s numbers in an England shirt do not make for pretty reading – an economy rate of 8.71 in t20 internationals is the worst of any bowler in world cricket (minimum of 300 balls).
The Johannesburg-born 28-year-old is not one to shirk a challenge however, and bowling at the top and bottom of an international t20 innings is often a thankless task.
And while an injury-hit 2014 has not helped his chances of getting back for England, Dernbach welcomes the challenge with a World Cup around the corner.
“I had a brief meeting with Peter Moores when he got the job but I haven’t sat down and spoken to him since,” he said.
“He is a great coach with a lot of clear ideas about what direction he wants to take the team. I don’t fit into those plans right now.
“But he made it clear they know the skillset I bring to the team and the role I can play, it is not set in stone and it’s about execution and proving that I can put in those performances.
“Whenever a World Cup is around the corner you’re always going to have one eye on that.”
Before the t20 World Cup, Dernbach had already been dropped from England’s 50-over side but that harrowing experience in Bangladesh has made him a stronger man already.
“I learned a great deal during that tournament,” he said. “Hopefully there’s a next time for me to show that but I know there is a bit of work for me to do before I can get back there. It’s mental rather than technical what I learned, my approach in taking that time to get it right in what were the hardest conditions I’ve ever played in.
“The realisation or understanding of game situations and having to think clearly when you are bowling at the top and bottom of an innings.
“The game has moved on so fast and the standard of play and hitting is just remarkable nowadays. You miss your length by an inch and you are disappearing out of the ground, for me it was never the case before.”
Currently recovering from a hamstring tear, Dernbach is already eyeing up the T20 Blast finals day to prove his new-found maturity.
This time last year it was his stand- off with David Willey that inspired the all-rounder to a match-winning display for Northants in the final.
But this time, Dernbach, who is planning to winter in South Africa to get more cricket, is confident history will not repeat itself.
“Any time you go all that way and then stumble at the final hurdle it’s a bittersweet feeling,” he said. “But that’s the beauty of t20. At the start of the year no-one would have given Northants a hope and then they won it but we’re getting in position to win it consistently and that’s a great sign.
“I want to be playing in the big games, the big situations. Everyone will watch finals day, even if they are not involved.
“That’s when I get the time to put my skills on show and I am really looking forward to that chance.
“The immediate focus is on ending the season well and then I am hoping to get away and play this winter somewhere. Nothing is set in stone at the moment but I am talking to a few South African franchises about some white and red-ball games as well.”
■ Jade Dernbach was speaking at the NatWest U15 Club Championships Finals. Find out more at natwest.com/cricket