“Be your own best selector,” he used to tell his players.
In other words, force me to pick you through the strength of your performance.
George Hill, the 21-year-old all-rounder, appears to be following that mantra to a tee.
Potentially vulnerable with the impending return of Joe Root, the former England Test captain, and Tom Kohler-Cadmore, recovering from concussion, Hill – perhaps the likeliest candidate to have made way – has now made it difficult for the club to leave him out.
His unbeaten 151 against Northamptonshire, his maiden first-class hundred, was a fine innings that should pencil him in for the foreseeable future.
That decision is ultimately for the captain and coach, of course, but Hill has certainly given Yorkshire the proverbial selection headache – the nicest headache to have, as the old saying goes.
“There’s a lot of good players in our squad and the only thing I can do is keep trying to score runs and keep trying to contribute,” said Hill, who faced 248 balls and hit 11 fours and three sixes as Yorkshire totalled 406-3 declared in their second innings, Northants closing day three on 56-0.
“Obviously I’m really pleased (to get a hundred) and it’s a relief more than anything. Last game and first innings I didn’t really do a huge amount, so it’s nice to contribute towards the team. I thought of my mum and dad (when I got to three figures), Speighty (Martin Speight), who’s been my coach for ages, and hopefully this innings can be a stepping stone.”
Hill seems to enjoy Wantage Road, a fact that immediately puts him in the minority, perhaps. He scored his maiden first-class fifty in the corresponding game last year (71, his previous career-best) and not even this playing area (one of the largest in the country) was big enough to contain him.
He drove and pulled with tremendous power, his trio of sixes all sailing over long-on off the spinner Simon Kerrigan and pace bowlers Ben Sanderson and Gareth Berg.
Harry Brook also struck three sixes to go with seven fours in reaching an unbeaten 77 from 63 balls to follow 84 in the first innings and scores of 101 and 56 not out in the opening match against Gloucestershire.
Dawid Malan also continued his impressive start to the campaign with 75 from 113 balls with five fours; he hit 64 in the first innings and scored 65 in the second innings of the Gloucestershire game.
Completing the quartet of Yorkshire players to pass fifty in the second innings here was Adam Lyth, who chipped in with 53. Yorkshire had started day three on 85-1, already 177 ahead, Lyth falling with the score on 101 when he edged behind an attempted cut. Malan holed out on the mid-wicket boundary.
But the day belonged to Hill, who shared stands of 157 with Malan and 148 with Brook.
He was, in the words of one former Australia fast bowler, his own best selector.