Shivnarine Chanderpaul will return to Derbyshire for a second season in 2014 - and he hopes to play a crucial role as the Club attempt to bounce back to Division One.
The West Indies international compiled 1,298 runs at a shade over 42 in all competitions in his first stint with Karl Krikken's side, hitting a top score of 129 against Surrey at the County Ground in May.
The 39-year-old will head off to the Caribbean this weekend ahead of a busy international schedule which includes tours of India and New Zealand – before returning to these shores in March for the start of the new domestic campaign.
And Chanderpaul – who is expected to be available throughout the 2014 summer – is relishing a return to Derby and is confident the squad has the quality to return to top flight at the first attempt.
“I’ve really enjoyed my first year with the Club,” he said. “Everyone - players, coaches and staff - have made me feel welcome and I’m happy to be returning for a second year.
“We have got a lot of talented guys here.
“The young guys who came in all did well. They have all developed their games this season and with the experience gained they should be firing next year.
“But you can say that about all the guys.
“They have all learnt something this year - and this will be evident at the start of the new season. They will all be better off because of this experience.
“As a team, we discussed our desire to return to Division One as soon as possible. There’s no reason why we can’t do it next year and I’m looking forward to being part of that.”
Chanderpaul pin-pointed the victory at Somerset as a personal highlight from the 2013 season – and he believes the fight shown bodes well for next season.
“It was a difficult wicket to bat on and we had a young team,” he said speaking about the nail-biting win at Taunton.
“When we were fielding I was thinking anything over 100 would be difficult to get on that pitch. They had both [Piyush] Chawla and [Jack] Leach bowling and you could get out at anytime.
“But we stood up, everyone who came in showed good fight and we battled all the way.
“This year we won games that people thought we would never win. Even the commentators at that game ruled us out, but we came out on top because of the fight we showed.
“This will be important next year, but if we show the same mentality we will be up there.”
Chanderpaul will now join up with his West Indies team-mates ahead of their two Test tour to India, before traveling to New Zealand in December to compete in a three Test series against the Black Caps.
“I go back to Orlando this week where I will have a few days off before I begin training with the national side in Miami on October 20th.
“We then fly to India on the 25th ahead of a busy schedule there. We will be playing a three-day warm-up fixture, two Tests and three ODIs before we are off to New Zealand.
“There we play three Tests and five ODIs before we welcome England to the Caribbean in March for another one-day series.
"I will then be heading back to Derby to join up with Derbyshire."
© 2014 Derbyshire County Cricket Club
The County Ground, Grandstand Road, Derby DE21 6AF. Tel: 01332 388 101
Website design by: www.thisismedia.co.uk