JASON GILLESPIE believes that Jack Leaning’s maiden first-team hundred could open the floodgates for the young Yorkshire batsman.
Leaning scored 111 not out against Essex in the Royal London Cup match at Scarborough on Monday and the 20-year-old, whose previous best was 99 against Sussex at Arundel in the County Championship in June, has impressed this year at the higher level.
Now coach Gillespie is confident that Leaning’s first century will trigger a number of three-figure scores.
Speaking ahead of today’s game against Derbyshire at Scarborough, Gillespie said: “Now Jack’s got his first hundred for the first team – and a very good hundred at that – hopefully it’s the first of many for him.
“I know he was bitterly disappointed to miss out on three figures at Arundel, but, as I explained to him at the time, it was only one run and he should not under-estimate the value of his contribution.
“Cricket is a statistical game, and it will go down in the record books as a 50 even though he scored 99, but it was a wonderful knock at an important time in the match.
“Now he’s batted really well against Essex and, hopefully, he can continue that form.”
Leaning, whose hundred was the highlight of a five-wicket defeat, has played in 15 first-team games this summer.
Seven first-class appearances have brought him 317 runs at 35.22, seven List A outings have yielded 227 runs at 45.40, while he was not called on to bat during his solitary appearance in the NatWest T20 Blast.
“What Jack has done is demand selection with his performances for the second team and then grabbed his first-team opportunities with both hands,” said Gillespie. “That’s all you can ask of players, and he will continue to improve and learn every time he goes out to bat. We’re really pleased with how he’s developing, and he’s becoming more aware with each game he plays.
“He’s understanding and reading situations and communicating well with his partner at the other end.”
Gillespie has named an unchanged squad for today’s game, which starts at 10.30am.
Yorkshire, who lead Group A, need one more win to be certain of a quarter-final place, with their final group fixture following against Hampshire at Southampton tomorrow week.
They need an improved display from the Essex game, which Yorkshire lost with 25 balls to spare after centuries from Ryan ten Doeschate and Tom Westley.
Yorkshire (from): Gale (capt), Bresnan, Brooks, Fisher, Hodd, Leaning, Lees, Lyth, Patterson, Pyrah, Rashid, Williamson.