JOSH POYSDEN has the ear of one of the greatest leg-spinners of all time as he seeks to take his career to the next level at Yorkshire.
Poysden knows that Stuart MacGill is only ever a phone call away, with the legendary Australian always prepared to give help and advice.
MacGill was one of the finest cricketers that the game has seen, taking 208 wickets in just 44 Tests between 1998 and 2008.
Poysden has already been coached and mentored by him during winters playing grade cricket in Sydney, and they remain in contact.
“Stuart is someone I stay in touch with and I know he’s always there if I need to speak to him,” said Poysden, who signed from Warwickshire last summer.
“He’s a special bloke, and he’s had a massive impact on me so far.
“One of the best things about Stuart is that he always tells it how it is and he’s very good at recognising each bowler’s strength and helping them nail that.
“He understands that everyone’s different, which is a really important thing for a coach, and his coaching skills are phenomenal.
“Stuart is someone who’s helped not just me, but also people like Matt Parkinson at Lancs and Mason Crane at Hampshire, having done work with the ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board).
“The lads all speak very highly of him.
One of the best things about Stuart is that he always tells it how it is and he’s very good at recognising each bowler’s strength and helping them nail that.Yorkshire’s Josh Poysden
“When I signed for Yorkshire, he was one of the first people I told and he was absolutely over the moon for me.
“He’s just a brilliant bloke, one of a kind.”
MacGill, 47, was a compelling bowler – attacking, aggressive, and with the priceless ability to take wickets out of nothing.
One of the most intelligent men to have played the sport, he is an avaricious reader and a connoisseur of wine, as well as a fearless free-thinker with the courage of his own convictions.
Such qualities are not lost on Poysden, who admires the man as much as the sportsman.
“Stuart is a fascinating character,” he said.
“I remember when I worked with him a couple of years ago, and if we had a two-hour session we’d spend an hour-and-a-half of it sitting over a coffee just, like, absolutely chewing the fat about leg-spin and stuff.
“I also had a few good dinners with him over a few wines, and he’s just a great bloke to be around.
“And, whenever it was time for me to leave Australia to go back home, he always made sure that some wine was his going-away present.”
Grateful for everything that MacGill has done for him, Poysden, 27, is keen to make up for lost time having so far played only 14 first-class games.
Opportunities at Warwickshire were limited by the presence of the outstanding New Zealand off-spinner Jeetan Patel, so he is hoping for a run of matches now after signing a three-year contract at Yorkshire, whom he initially joined on loan last season.
Poysden believes that there is more to come from him in red-ball cricket, especially, after his white-ball skills were evident during the Abu Dhabi T20 at the end of the season, when he bowled well in the two matches against Lahore Qalandars and Hobart Hurricanes.
Yorkshire have identified him as a player of high potential and valuable support/back-up to England leg-spinner Adil Rashid.
“I feel I can offer a bit more in red-ball next year hopefully,” said Poysden.
“I think I was just finding my feet a little bit last season, and, although I’ve had success in red-ball in the past it’s an area of my game that I’m really keen to keep working on and keep improving.
“I was really happy with how Abu Dhabi went at the end of last season.
“I felt as though I gave a good account of myself in both games, although it was disappointing that we couldn’t qualify for the final.
“I think that joining at the back end of last season helped me in that I got my debut and stuff out of the way and got to know all the lads, and I’m really keen to kick on from here.”
Poysden also hopes to pick the brains of Rashid, whom he made a habit of seeking out whenever Warwickshire played Yorkshire.
The spin bowlers’ union is a tight-knit one – particularly the leg-spinners’ union, considering the specialist nature of the art.
“Adil has been away the whole time I’ve been here, unfortunately, but even when I was at Warwickshire and we played against Yorkshire, I always made an effort to go and speak to him, even just to ask little things like how he bowls his googly,” said Poysden.
“So, when he is around, I’ll really try and pick his brains.
“He is the current England leg-spinner, after all, and one of the best white-ball spinners in the world.
“To have the opportunity to be able to talk to him in more detail will be a great thing for me.”
Josh Poysden was speaking at Leeds General Infirmary where he and Yorkshire team-mates Tim Bresnan and Ben Coad handed out Christmas presents at the Children’s Congenital Heart Unit in an annual initiative between the club and charity partner the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund.
Poysden said: “Days like these are massive and put the game into perspective.
“To be able to put a smile on the kids’ faces and give back to the community is imperative.
“There’s no doubt it’s a moving experience, but such a rewarding one as well.”