THINGS are going really well at Yorkshire County Cricket Club.
Up to this stage we’ve achieved what we set out to do really, bar the Twenty20 where we were disappointed not to get into a quarter-final. But we are going really well, we’re playing some good cricket but it counts for nothing if we don’t produce a trophy come the end of the season.
We haven’t talked about doing the County Championship and One-Day Cup double as we haven’t really spoken with the lads about winning trophies. We’re all talking about the process really – how we are going to take 20 wickets in the next game or what’s our game plan in one-day cricket and how we go about executing that? The lads know what’s there in front of their eyes but we don’t want to get too carried away with that and we know it can change very fast. If there’s one thing that last year taught us, it’s that things can change very quickly. We’ve just got to make sure that when we cross that white line that we’re switched on and we’re confident in executing our game plan.
Over the last few years we have had a fantastic squad of players and it’s shown that even the players that are coming into the side from the second team are taking their opportunity – people like Jack Leaning, Andrew Hodd, Matthew Fisher this week – they are chomping at the bit. People said it would be hard to win trophies with so many England players missing but we see that as a positive and it gives other lads an opportunity in the side. The lads that have come in have taken that opportunity.
Our week began with defeat to Essex in the One Day Cup and at the half-way stage we thought we were probably 30 or 40 runs over par really. We thought we had timed the innings really well and it was a fantastic knock by Jack Leaning to get his first 100 for Yorkshire. I thought we bowled okay – the pitch got a little but flatter but fair play to Essex on the day. They played out of their skin and after having them something like 50-4, for the two guys (Tom Westley and Ryan ten Doeschate) to come in and put a partnership on like they did and in the fashion that they did, they played out of their skin. Sometimes you have just got to hold your hands up and say well played.
After that, we knew that Derbyshire was a big game for us. We needed a win to get to the quarters and we came out of the blocks really well taking early wickets. We put them behind the eight ball really and we knew it was still a good pitch and probably a better pitch then it was against Essex. To win in the fashion that we did gave the lads a lot of confidence and it was really pleasing to see. We don’t know if we’ll get a home quarter-final yet but we’re in the box seat and we’ve got one more game left against Hampshire which is next Thursday.
But we won’t be taking our foot off the gas as we want to be going into the quarters full of confidence. This weekend we’re back to the County Championship which is the holy grail if you like. Yorkshire are very traditional in the way that they do things and it would be a massive achievement to win the County Championship.
That’s what we set out at the start of the season to do and we’re in the box seat.
We’ve had a couple of weeks away from County Championship cricket and our last game was at Scarborough as well when we came out on top against Middlesex.
The lads are excited to get back to red ball cricket and play some proper cricket if you like.
We play Sussex who are a tricky team.
They are probably not having the best of seasons for the standards they set themselves but they are a very hard-working team and they have got some good players in there like Ed Joyce and I think he is nearing a thousand runs.
He is one of the leading batsmen in the country and their captain and then there’s Steve Magoffin who is a great bowler and who has been a decent servant for them over the last few years.
They’re a good team on their day but we’re an even better team when we perform to our best as well.
As for matters internationally, I think now England have got some confidence and form, I can’t see them losing this next Test against India – winning it and, at the very worst, if there’s a bit of weather around, drawing it. It’s great to see the turnaround they’ve had over the last month or so – they’ve got some real confidence – and particularly the Yorkshire lads who are doing really well. Gary Ballance has taken to test cricket like a duck to water and Joe Root is establishing himself now as almost a senior player in the side. It’s really good to see.
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