Patterson is aiming to spearhead Yorkshire challenge on all fronts

Steve Patterson
Steve Patterson
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Steve Patterson says Yorkshire have plenty of room for improvement going into the new season as they look to continue their year-on-year progression under Jason Gillespie.

The White Rose side took their County Championship challenge down to the wire last season before being pipped at the post by Durham.

The only tangible way they can improve on that in 2014 is to go one better and win a first title for more than a decade.

But pace bowler Patterson believes Yorkshire should be judged on their success in all three formats of the game this summer.

Their form in the limited-overs formats suffered in 2013 as they failed to reach the knockout stages in both the Twenty20 and YB40 competitions.

Patterson feels it is on the collective achievements of the squad, rather than just their form in the Championship that Yorkshire should be judged in Gillespie’s third season as first-team coach.

“Some people would judge it as winning the title as the only improvement, but we as a squad see a lot of areas where we can progress,” said Patterson, who took 46 wickets at 25.06 in the Championship last season.

“Yes, we came close in the Championship but our one-day form was below par for the standards that we set ourselves and that’s an area where we can be a lot, lot better.

“The format is changing from 40 overs to 50 overs this season so that will suit us a lot better.

“We’ve got to get our heads around how we’re going to play that new format because some of the young lads won’t have played that form of cricket as it’s not been around for a few years.

“So we’ve got that to approach and we also want to get back to where we were two years ago in the Twenty20 when we got through to the final.

“As well as that we have to maintain and improve our form in the Championship – so there’s plenty to improve on.

“Jason has done a great job since he’s come in. What he’s done best is he gives you responsibility for your own game. He wants to see you do well, he doesn’t put too much pressure on you.

“It’s a really enjoyable, positive atmosphere around the club and there’s a real hunger from everyone to get better.”

Patterson’s own personal ambitions mirror that of the team’s.

In 2013, he was a mainstay of Yorkshire’s Championship attack, second only to Ryan Sidebottom in the total amount of wickets taken.

The 30-year-old has been one of the more consistent performers in recent years but it is in the one-day format which he hopes to make a larger contribution.

“Last year, I felt I played my part in the four-day game, got a few wickets and made some good contributions, but one-day wise I didn’t feature at all, so that’s an area I can build on this year,” said Patterson.

“With the way the fixture list works out this year, it allows you more preparation time for different formats of the game, so my goal is to continue my form in the Championship and improve on that if I can, and also to play a lot more one-day and Twenty20 cricket.

“Sometimes you set yourself statistical targets, other times it’s just to feel like you’re contributing to the team.”

Patterson was speaking on his return to pre-season training with the clock ticking towards the 2014 campaign which begins for Yorkshire with a tour to Sri Lanka in March.

The experienced campaigner says the hurt of last year’s title challenge has now subsided, and that even at its rawest, there was an acknowledgement that Durham were worthy winners of the Championship.

Since then, he has done as many a county cricketer has this winter, stayed up at night and watched in bemusement the travails of England in Australia.

While perhaps past his own chance of breaking into the selectors’ thinking, he has questioned the wisdom of some of their decisions on who to take Down Under and who to leave behind.

Beverley-born Patterson said: “Graham Onions, I would argue, is the best bowler in county cricket. He took 60 wickets in 10 games and was a massive part of Durham winning the Championship, yet he doesn’t get a look-in.

“Then they pick Boyd Rankin, Steve Finn and Chris Tremlett, who, if you go on their success of the past year, didn’t have much at all.

“Onions has played Test cricket before but misses out to lads who have 25-30 wickets in 15 games. If you base it on what you’ve achieved then it’s probably not right. But the selectors have a specific way in which they want to approach it and they go with that. They’re the ones responsible and accountable at the end of the day.

“Players like me and the guys around here don’t worry about that. As a group, we are just focused on doing the best we can for Yorkshire. If you get a guy who does well like a Joe Root or a Jonny Bairstow then they get their rewards with England, but they only do that by being successful for us.”