Dearden reflects on 2017

Leicestershire CCC opening batsman Harry Dearden has thoughtfully reflected on his first season on the professional staff.

Dearden, 20, made 11 first-class appearances in 2017 and had a series of testing challenges at the top of the Leicestershire order.

He faced lots of skilful pace bowlers with vast experience of English conditions or youngsters that would make a big impression in 2017. 

To underline that point, Dearden faced Australia international James Pattinson and England seamers Stuart Broad and Jake Ball when the Foxes played Nottinghamshire.

The trio were among a pace bowling list that also included Jofra Archer, Vernon Philander, Chris Jordan, Marchant de Lange and Liam Norwell.

Dearden said: “I absolutely loved every minute of my first season, it was very challenging and I faced some of the world’s best bowlers in tough conditions at times.”

“Getting to 30 is the really tricky part against the new ball, especially if we have to bat first when it’s overcast. Next summer I am going to make a real effort to make sure that once I reach 30, I refocus and try to make big scores.”

Unfortunately for Dearden, those plans will include rehabilitation as the young batsman suffered Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) damage towards the end of the campaign, as well as needing cartilage repair.  

The timescale for Dearden’s return from that point was between 6 to 9 months – but he hopes that youthfulness will lead to a return closer to the half-year mark. Dearden has been in close communication with the Leicestershire medical team and has been working hard in the gym doing basic movement exercises. 

He said: “I’m now 13 weeks post operation and my knee brace has now come off which is encouraging. I haven’t been able to move a lot, so it is a case of rebuilding my muscle.”

Dearden then went on to talk about his excitement of working with new Head Coach Paul Nixon, a fellow left-hander who took on the new ball towards the end of his career.

He said: “It will be great to work with Nico [Paul Nixon] and I can’t wait to see his fresh ideas. I only heard good things about him before he joined and the reaction on social media was incredible to his appointment.

“It was great to see how positive the fans were about his appointment and I am sure next summer we will give them something to cheer.”

Dearden has travelled to Australia in the past but had always planned to stay in the UK throughout this winter. Although he is a while away from picking up a bat, there is no doubting his dedication to getting fit and returning to the side next summer.

As a batsman just starting his cricketing journey we asked Dearden for some advice he would give young opening batter. 

“The most important thing to do when you are young is enjoy your cricket and throw yourself into it,” he said. “Don’t rule anything out, nowadays you have to be able to do at least two parts of the game. So try everything - you never know what you might enjoy!”

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