Darren Gough reminded of his own road to success by Fin Bean journey
Bean has grabbed his second chance at Yorkshire with both hands after leaving the club to work as a mechanic.
Bean returned last summer, winning a rookie contract on the back of a second XI record score of 441 against Notts, form that he has carried into this year with 118 against Leicestershire (his maiden County Championship hundred), followed by the top score of 49 in the first innings of last week’s match against Sussex at Hove.
Gough, the Yorkshire managing director of cricket, believes that 21-year-old Bean has gained valuable life experience and perspective away from the sport as he himself did back in the early 1990s, when he performed menial tasks on motorways during the winter before rising to become one of England’s great fast bowlers.
“Fin talks about working on the tools, stuff like that. I think it’s been really good for him,” said Gough.
“When you get that opportunity again as a cricketer, you’re determined to make it, and that’s what he’s done; he’s made a really good start.
“Back in my day, I worked in the winter, and it was good for me, too.
"I worked on the motorways in 1991 and 1992. In 1993, I got picked for England A - else I’d have been working on the motorways again.”
Gough undertook various tasks including putting out traffic cones, an experience that only increased his determination to rise to the top of the cricketing world.
“When you get up at 4am and finish at 5pm at night, it’s hard,” he recalled.
“I worked on the M62, places like that. Players don’t do that now, it’s totally different. It’s not like it used to be.”
Gough, who made his Test and one-day international debut in 1994, went on to take 467 wickets for England across the three formats.
In all professional cricket he captured 1,486 wickets, including 760 for Yorkshire.
If Bean can go on to enjoy even half the career, he would be a happy man indeed.
Gough said the youngster deserved his second crack.
“There’s nobody off our radar,” he added. “I’ve always said that.
“Sometimes in cricket, if you get let go by a county there’s no way back; you find it very difficult to get back.
"I know Tatts (Jonny Tattersall) came back, which was great, but it doesn’t happen very often.
“As a young player you find it hard sometimes, but we saw Fin in the league and he did well.
"Boony (coach Tim Boon) went to watch him on a couple of occasions, and we picked him.
"He did brilliantly and fully deserved his contract.”
Bean’s 441 against Notts catapulted him into the national spotlight.
Thousands tuned into the live stream from the Lady Bay sports ground in the shadow of Trent Bridge last June, with Bean leaving for dead the previous record second XI score of 322 by a certain Marcus Trescothick, for Somerset against Warwickshire at Taunton in 1997.
Gough said that Bean had worked hard in the winter and was reaping the rewards.
The Harrogate-born left-hander was one of several Yorkshire players who attended a batting camp in India to broaden his experience.
“The thing in India was excellent for his development,” said Gough.
“He really enjoyed that; he’d never done anything like that before.
“He went with Ali (Maiden, the Yorkshire assistant coach). A few of them went out there.
"We wanted to make sure that the lads were prepared.”
For a man who was earning £2 an hour not so long ago, working as a mechanic, life is certainly looking up for Bean, who has done a fine job as Adam Lyth’s partner at the top of the order.
It is important not to get carried away or to expect too much too soon; Bean rode his luck at times at Hove and would admit that he is not the finished article.
However, he looks to have the right ingredients and very much the right attitude; Bean has spoken himself of how time away from the game has made him appreciate it more, how it has given him greater perspective and that he feels fortunate to be playing cricket for a living.
Gough can certainly empathise with that and hopes that Bean will go from strength to strength.
“He played really well against Leicester,” he said.
“It did a bit in the first 40 minutes of that match; it seamed a lot. We lost the toss, got put in and still got 500.
“He played really well, and hopefully he can go on now and kick on from here.
“He’s got everything in perspective, which is great for a young player, and I’m sure he will keep working hard to make the most of his opportunity.”