Ben Mike beginning to flourish at Yorkshire CCC
The pace bowling all-rounder initially struggled after joining the club from Leicestershire last year.
But the 24-year-old has made important contributions to the last three wins in T20 cricket.
And as he prepared to face his former club on Tuesday at Grace Road, where Yorkshire will be seeking their fourth victory in seven matches, Mike said he now feels happier and settled.
“I’m not going to lie, it’s been tough, it’s been different,” he said of a challenging start to his Yorkshire career.
“No fault of anybody else - just me putting too much pressure on myself, wanting to impress the coaches, the fans, and obviously coming to a bigger club.
“But now I feel like I’ve settled in nicely and I’m putting a few performances in, and it helps when you’re winning as well, so I feel very happy at the moment.
“Not that I wasn’t feeling happy at the start - the boys have been very welcoming, the coaches have been great; it’s just that I was putting too much pressure on myself, which is perhaps only natural after moving clubs.”
Yorkshire signed Mike on a three-year deal last August and he made his debut the following month against Surrey at the Oval.
It was an inauspicious debut in a tough game for the team collectively, Mike returning figures of 14-0-91-1 in a 10-wicket defeat that remains his sole Championship appearance for Yorkshire.
But useful lower-order runs in the T20 victory over Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge last week (Yorkshire’s first since he arrived at the club), followed by useful wickets in the Headingley T20 triumphs against Lancashire and Derbyshire, have shown why Darren Gough, the managing director of cricket, was moved to describe Mike as “a very talented young cricketer whose signature was in demand around the counties”.
Mike took 3-39 against Derbyshire and won the match with a six to boot, and now he wants to continue that form against Leicestershire and win a regular place in all formats.
“The first game of this season was against Leicestershire in the Championship and obviously it would have been nice to play in that, and we owe them one from that (defeat), so we’re going to be going down there full strength,” he said.
“I’ll probably get a bit of stick - that first game of the season the (Leicestershire) lads were saying, ‘We told you you shouldn’t have left’, stuff like that, which is only natural.
“I just want to perform really regardless (of who Yorkshire are playing), and I want to take my cricket to the next level, which is why I came to Yorkshire.
“I knew it wouldn’t be easy and that I’d have to fight for my place, which I still have to do in the red-ball game, but ultimately it will only benefit me coming here in the long-run.”
It is all to play for in the North Group, with sixth-placed Yorkshire just two points off the top in a congested table. Leicestershire are bottom after one win and five defeats.