New Derbyshire batsman Billy Godleman can benefit from Nick Compton's Test ton
NICK Compton's first Test century for England last week can mean good news for Derbyshire.
Not from the point of view that if he carries on playing for his country, he cannot score runs for Somerset against Derbyshire but because Billy Godleman, the opening batsman signed in the winter, is looking to follow the same road to success.
Godleman and the rest of his new team-mates started their Barbados tour in earnest yesterday with a three-hour net session at North Stars but it is work done through the winter that the left-hander, only just 24, that he hopes will help him fulfil the huge potential he showed as a teenager.
Godleman has been working with former Essex, Somerset and Leicestershire wicketkeeper-batsman Neil Burns at London County Cricket Club.
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Compton, who was Godleman's opening batting partner at Middlesex, is one of several county cricketers who have said that working with Burns has set their careers back on the right track after reaching a turning point. So too have Monty Panesar and Darren Stevens.
That was where Godleman found himself at the end of last season, when Essex told him they did not want him any more.
No cricketer could hear those words without feeling a degree of self-doubt but now he says he is ready to prove he has the quality to succeed in the first-class game.
"I first met Neil through Nick Compton six or seven years ago, when I was 17," said Godleman. "I've been involved in his organisation periodically ever since and Neil has supported me for that time.
"Around the time I was released by Essex, I was obviously going through a difficult period of my life and a period of transition. Neil and London County offered their help in guiding me through that transition.
"I spent time with him in England and South Africa and, basically, it was an all-round athlete development programme to advance my performance and skill factors as well.
"A part of that has been developing my leadership skills and having the opportunity to mentor some of the younger players at London County, which I really loved.
"I know how highly Nick and Monty regard Neil and I can't compare what I've been through with them, because I don't know exactly what that involved, but I would definitely agree that my time with Neil has had an huge impact not only on developing my technical skills as a performer but as a person.
"I definitely feel a difference in myself. The work Nick and Monty have done with Neil has helped transform their performances and I hope I can go in a similar direction."
One consequence of his time with London County is that Godleman has not spent much time in the nets in Derby and so this tour to Barbados is set to be doubly valuable as a getting-to-know-you opportunity.
"I've been away most of the winter, so I've not actually spent much time with the boys," he added.
"This pre-season trip's a great opportunity for me to get to know my team-mates better and to bat, get as much time in the middle as I possibly can.
"My focus is on doing all I can in the net sessions and in the games to give myself the best opportunity to get selected for the first game, against Warwickshire."
Like the rest of the squad, Godleman is also hoping there will be a chance to meet Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who is playing for West Indies in Barbados in a game that started yesterday.
Even if schedules do not allow the players to get together with Chanderpaul here, the batsman is excited at the prospect of playing alongside one of the greats of the modern era with Derbyshire next season.
"I was thrilled to hear the news when it broke," he said.
"From my point of view, to play alongside a left-handed batsman of the highest quality will not only be a learning experience for me in terms of watching how he goes about his business. Hopefully. I'll be able to develop a relationship with him where I can pick his brains, learn more about the game and about batting.
"As a young player, I've always found great value in more experienced players sharing their experience and if that can speed up the learning process for the less experienced guys, I feel that's very positive for us and the club."