JASON GILLESPIE has revealed how Steve Harmison thanked his Yorkshire team-mates for helping inspire his game-changing flurry of wickets in the top of the table encounter with Derbyshire.
The White Rose county are firmly in control of the County Championship Division Two match despite yesterday’s second day being washed out by a heavy overnight downpour.
Play was abandoned shortly after an 11am inspection by the umpires, meaning Derbyshire will start today 84 runs behind with three first innings wickets in hand.
It is a far from ideal position for the leaders and one that was caused, in part, by Harmison, pictured, claiming three wickets in 11 deliveries towards the end of the first day.
Coming after what can at best be described as a wayward opening spell – the former England opening bowler was smashed for 27 runs off three overs that also saw the home side’s total boosted by four no-balls and nine wides – such a return was testament to the determination and guts of the Durham loanee.
Yorkshire first-team coach Gillespie said: “We signed Steve for that ‘X’ factor and while the balls he got wickets with could not be described as classic deliveries, they did get wickets.
“He is that sort of bowler and on day one I felt he turned the game on its head on the back of some excellent work by Steve Patterson and Moin Ashraf. Those two bowled absolutely beautifully.
“Moin got two key wickets in (Usman) Khawaja and (Dan) Redfern while keeping it tight, as did Richard Pyrah.
“Bringing Harmy back (into the attack for the spell that yielded three wickets) was a great move by Phil Jaques. He did spray the odd ball but he found a way to get wickets and that is why we signed him.
“Harmy spoke in the dressing room after the first day’s play and it was great to hear what he was most pleased about.
“The ball was not coming out as he would have liked but he got the continual support of his team-mates. He took a lot of confidence from the support and he told them that.
“For a guy to come in on loan with 700 wickets to his name and acknowledge that was great. He is only just getting to know the lads, but I thought that showed his character and also the support that exists in the dressing room.”
Harmison joined Yorkshire earlier this month on loan after finding appearances hard to come by at the Riverside this season.
Gillespie added: “He’s had a frustrating season up at Durham where he has not got the opportunities he would have liked. Steve likes to bowl lots of overs. The more he bowls, the better he gets. Steve needs to bowl day after day. If he gets that, he will play an important role for us.
“We are constantly talking to him. Good communication is key to keeping his spirits up. He loves talking about the game.
“It has been a pleasure to have him. Regardless of what happens for the rest of the month, it has been absolutely worthwhile to sign him. He has been worth getting on board, especially after Wednesday.”
Gillespie is hopeful that the White Rose can push on in the final two days to claim victory. He added: “It would be great to win in a season that has been marred by the weather. I looked out there (yesterday) and thought, ‘How can we ever get on?’
“But if we can get time out in the middle then we can drive this forward. We have given ourselves a chance with the first day.”
Yorkshire are set to welcome back captain Andrew Gale after a hip injury on Sunday when they take on Derbyshire in the CB40 League at Chesterfield.
Gale is also expected to play for Cleckheaton in the Bradford League tomorrow.
Mitchell Starc will also join the Yorkshire squad this weekend, while the county’s other overseas signing David Miller is on his way back to England after a short break and will join his team-mates ahead of Wednesday’s Twenty20 Cup quarter-final against Worcestershire at Headingley.