Wayne Madsen is one of the most prolific batsmen in Derbyshire’s history. But his influence extends far beyond weight of runs, says the club’s new captain, Billy Godleman.
Madsen’s brilliant knock of 163 at Canterbury last week was his fourth century of the season, his second against Kent this summer and his 22nd first-class hundred for the county since arriving in this country from South Africa in 2009.
Only five players have scored more centuries for Derbyshire and with six Specsavers County Championship matches remaining, including this week’s clash with Northamptonshire at Chesterfield, the 32-year-old is on course for his best season.
It was a desire to concentrate on his batting and boost his chances of playing for England that was behind the decision to stand down as Derbyshire captain before the season began.
But Godleman, who took over the captaincy from him, fully appreciates the impact Madsen has on the team and his own career.
After he had scored the first double century of that career and the highest by a Derbyshire player, against Worcestershire last month, Godleman was quick to acknowledge the help he has received from Madsen.
For a large part of Godleman’s innings, Madsen was at the other end in a third-wicket stand of 251, and Derbyshire’s new skipper appreciated the value of sharing a partnership with his predecessor.
“I love batting with Wayne,” he said. “He’s obviously a fantastic player and he’s a very good friend of mine.
“He’s been incredibly supportive and helpful with my personal career, so every time I get to observe his batting, I’m always learning.
“He’s been a real support network away from the field, talking about batting and the technicalities of batting, the tactics of batting and game plans. I have been lucky to pick his brains on how he looks to play himself and how he’s accumulated runs over his career.
“He’s been very open and willing to share his experiences and knowledge with me, and he’s done it in a really kind and humble way.”
Godleman is also grateful for the advice he has received from Madsen in taking on the leadership in the four-day game.
“From a captaincy aspect, Wayne has great experience in captaining Derbyshire and he’s allowed me to use his experience in any way that can help me and inform my captaincy.
“He’s always keeping a really nice balance of sharing without ever telling me what to do, and that is a really hard balance to strike. Only someone with Wayne’s qualities as a human being could do that.”
Whether Madsen’s international ambitions are realised remains to be seen, but as Godleman said: “We’re always in a better position when Wayne Madsen is batting.”
Madsen was born in Durban in 1984 and hailed from a family with strong cricketing traditions. He made his first-class debut in 2004 for KwaZulu-Natal against Border.
He gained UK citizenship in February 2015 and has made it clear that he would love to play for England before his career is over.