YORKSHIRE’s stated intention of creating a county cricket dynasty has been boosted after Jack Leaning and Will Rhodes became the latest to sign long-term deals with the club.
Leaning, a 21-year-old batsman, and Rhodes, a 19-year-old all-rounder, have agreed contracts that will keep them at Headingley until at least the end of 2017.
It follows the renewed commitment in recent days of batsman Alex Lees and pace bowlers Ryan Sidebottom and Steve Patterson as Yorkshire look to build on last summer’s County Championship title.
Leaning, who has spent the winter in Australia playing for the Sydney-based side Sutherland, was a useful cog in that Championship triumph, scoring 465 runs in 10 games at an average of 38.75, taking his chance with impressive maturity.
He showed his qualities in an innings of 99 against Sussex at Arundel and also prospered in limited-overs cricket, averaging 55 in the Royal London One-Day Cup and contributing a maiden first-team hundred – 111 not out against Essex at Scarborough.
“I’m delighted to have signed a new contract with Yorkshire,” said Leaning, who led Sutherland to victory over Northern District at the Glenn McGrath Oval in Sydney on Sunday in the final of the Poidevin-Gray Shield, top-scoring with 71 and returning figures of 2-9.
“I am still learning my trade as a professional cricketer and it was very special to be part of a winning team last year in my first full season.
“I hope that I can continue to progress and contribute to the long-term success of the club.”
Rhodes, a former England Under-19 captain, has yet to make a Championship appearance but is highly regarded at Yorkshire, for whom he has performed well in a handful of outings in one-day cricket.
Now he wants to become a regular member of the first-team squad.
“I am enjoying my cricket and, in particular, being part of the Yorkshire set-up,” said Rhodes, who has spent the off-season honing his skills with the Yorkshire senior side at Headingley.
“There is a great spirit amongst the group and I just love coming into Headingley every day and working on my game.
“I felt that I had a good season last year with England Under-19s and the Yorkshire Second XI.
“My aim is to continue to work hard, play well and be part of the senior set-up over the next few years. I can’t wait for the season to start.”