At 84, Bryan Stott is back in the First XI – no longer at the crease but at the vanguard of what his fellow members in the Long Room believe will be another vintage season.
Stott was the 98th player to be capped by the white rose side. In a career spanning 11 years, he played 190 first-class matches, scoring 9,248 runs and 17 centuries. Now, it is views on YouTube he is counting, as the perhaps unlikely star of his old club’s campaign to instil another generation with a love of the summer sport.
His is the face beaming from a promotional video produced by Yorkshire, under the title One Rose. Alongside him are schoolchildren and the poet Ian McMillan, who celebrates in verse his love of the 11-petal emblem.
The campaign also features two Yorkshire cricketers separated from Mr Stott by six decades – the seam bowling duo Ben Coad and Matthew Fisher, both recent products of the Headingley Academy.
It was launched last night as the curtain went up on a season that will see Australia’s first visit there for an Ashes Test since 2009, as well as four World Cup fixtures across June and July.
“This is a special rose,” said Mr Stott of the one sewn on to his cap. “A lot of lads played county cricket, but you had to be fortunate to last the course and get a cap. It’s a great thrill and, believe me, it’s something that stays with you forever. Even now, you remember the triumphs and the heartbreaks like they were yesterday.”
McMillan,the Barnsley poet whose books and broadcasts have made him an unofficial voice from the county, said it was Headingley’s “mixture of intimacy and epic-ness” that he most loved.
“As a lad, I didn’t go, but I had a teacher who was obsessed with Yorkshire cricket. That’s all he ever talked about. He’d built it up to be something incredibly exciting, and it was.”
He added: “I think we are going to do well this year. I want to come to the ground and see those sorts of shots, wickets and catches that you’ll remember for years.”
Treve Whitford, the club’s head of marketing, said the video had been produced to honour “a talented, up-and-coming squad, a thriving women’s team, a distinguished past and the best support in world cricket”.
He said: “It celebrates the club’s proud tradition of nurturing and promoting local players, and the collective passion of our supporters.”
Coad, who is 25 and the 182nd player to wear the county cap, said: “So many of us have been on that journey from being a promising youngster to eventually playing in the first team.
“To play for Yorkshire is a dream come true for every single one of us in that dressing room. Without doubt this is the biggest club in the world.”