Devil in Malcolm

Derbyshire 200 Warwickshire 321-7
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The Independent Online
Heavy and insistent drizzle arrived either side of lunch, preventing Warwickshire from adding further to an already impressive 121-run lead.

Resuming in the morning on 209 for 3, a lead of just nine, Warwickshire encountered a resurgent Devon Malcolm. Bowling from the Pavilion End with great pace and accuracy, Malcolm showed his skill as a strike bowler with a double breakthrough. Warwickshire's Dominic Ostler was bowled off an attempted pull-shot, the ball thudding into his chest before dropping on to the stumps, and, three balls later, Dougie Brown fended off a fierce bouncer and was caught off the handle of the bat on the legside.

This was a fine display of fast bowling from Malcolm and augurs well for England if the selectors retain him for the Second Test on Thursday.

At 218 for 5, a lead of 40 or 50 seemed more likely, but a damp ball and a gritty innings of 72 from Trevor Penney meant that Warwickshire took a firm grip, reaching 321 for 7. Malcolm also picked up the wicket of a disgruntled Keith Piper, caught down the legside trying to glance. But, as well as Malcolm bowled in his first spell, Warwickshire were allowed to accumulate easy runs from the other end.

So the rain came to save Derbyshire at the end of an acrimonious week which started with the shock resignation of their captain and overseas player Dean Jones. The Victorian is undoubtedly a talented player, at one stage being universally recognised as the best one-day batsman in the world, but during his career he has attracted a lot of controversy.

His retirement from international cricket during Australia's 1993-94 tour of South Africa followed his non-selection for the one-day internationals and was seen by many as an act bred from petulance. He then tried to come back offering himself as captain of Australia A, an offer that was refused by the Australian Board, probably with good reason.

Jones is a single-minded, some might say arrogant, person - which probably accounts for his excellence as a cricketer - but it does not always lend itself to good leadership or management. Often it is stated that the style of play reflects the personality of the player - Jones is an aggressive player who wants to impose himself on every situation and feel in complete control. The problem with that type of captaincy is it allows little or no room for discussion or input from other team members.

Admittedly he led them to the runners-up spot in last year's Championship but the seeds of the past week's dissent were probably sown during last season. Failure breeds scapegoats and accusations and Jones spoke last week of his belief that he was not given the support that he needed. Conversely, success can conceal problems and if they are not properly addressed they can fester.

Although Derbyshire are still in trouble, the players appear relaxed and the dearture of last year's successful leader might just enable them to salvage this season.

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