WE resume County Championship action next week and it is going to be a massive run-in for us, that is for sure.
The game against Sussex at Scarborough which starts on Friday is going to be a really big fixture for us and we have got a good record there and we always enjoy going there.
The wicket suits the way we play and, hopefully, we can get ahead of the pack by getting a win there.
Personally, I have got a really good record there and enjoy playing there; I love it. There is always a really good atmosphere there and with it being the festival as well it will be really well supported and hopefully it will be great weather. The lads enjoy going there and the families enjoy coming along and it is a real family atmosphere for the players.
The pitch should also suit our style of play with pace and bounce in it. If you pitch the ball up, you get your rewards and there should also be a little bit of spin for Rash (Adil Rashid) in the second innings as well. We usually play good cricket there.
It is important at somewhere like Scarborough where there is pace and bounce that you have a top-class spinner.
In terms of the division, it is as wide open as I have seen it for a long time and I think five teams can possibly still win the championship.
So it’s going to be a massive run-in and what we won’t do is get ahead of ourselves. We know after our experiences last year that the table can change pretty quickly.
It doesn’t matter how well we have performed to this point; it is about how well we perform over the next four games.
If we do what we have been doing and hammer our processes home like we have done, we will be in a good spot come the end of the season.
Obviously, Liam Plunkett is missing from the England ranks for the fourth Test against India at Old Trafford with injury and he has a little bit of a ‘hot-spot’ on his foot.
It is not quite a stress fracture, so it is not as bad as first thought. But the physio is quite confident that if he rests up over the next few weeks that he can push hard to be available for England for the last Test.
I am not sure if he will be involved in the England one-dayers or not, but hopefully he will still play a big part in our run-in for the rest of the season.
We are currently on a hectic run of one-day matches in an eight or nine-day spell before the County Championship and we will have to handle our seamers in the right way. It could mean resting one or two before Scarborough, but if we can get a bit of momentum going into the Sussex game, that will do us good.
No matter what form you play, if you can get a couple of wins, it can only breed confidence and we obviously want to progress to the quarter-finals.
The recent break was nice, just to get four days off and spend some time with the family. All the lads have some good rest and got away from each other and physically and mentally refreshed themselves. It is getting to the business end of the season and it is important that we are really ready for the run-in.
It was great to come back from a break with such a good win in the Royal London One-Day Cup against Northants at Wantage Road. I think they really will be sick of the sight of Adam Lyth and Alex Lees. In their last two knocks against them, they have put on something like 560 runs. Northants will be glad not to come up against those two again for a while.
It was a pretty ruthless win to be honest and quite emphatic. To win in the fashion we did when we bowled really well and then the two lads at the top set the tone and we got home easily in the end.
If we are going to be successful this season, then we knew that it was always nice to have a good opening partnership and those two have really forged a great partnership at the top of the order for us. They really complement each other. That has been a big plus for us this season.
Obviously, the football gets underway this weekend and I will be at Huddersfield Town’s first game against Bournemouth and will be looking forward to it. I actually thought they might have signed a few more players. But they obviously believe in the young lads at it will be good to see how they do. If we get off to a good start, hopefully we will get some momentum. But Adam Clayton would be a big loss; he’s a great player. We have a few Leeds fans in our ranks such as Rich Pyrah, although they are a bit quiet at the minute!
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