Hampshire v Yorkshire: Flower in to help White Rose bloom

YORKSHIRE have drafted in Pakistan batting coach Grant Flower in an effort to solve their run-scoring problems.

Yorkshire's Jonathan Tattersall in batting action during the Royal London One Day Cup, semi final at The Ageas Bowl, Southampton. (Picture: Mark Kerton/PA Wire)

Flower will work with the players for the first half of the day/night County Championship match against Hampshire at Southampton that starts today.

Yorkshire’s batting has struggled for consistency since they won the first of back-to-back titles in 2014, and director of cricket Martyn Moxon explained that Yorkshire had been contemplating the move for several weeks.

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“It’s something we’ve thought about doing for a while now and who could possibly do that for us,” he said.

“We spoke to the batters and they thought it would be useful, and with Grant being over in England with the Pakistan team, it seemed to be a really nice fit.

“I just asked him to come down (to Southampton) for a couple of days to see whether the lads can glean anything from him.

“He’ll basically be around for the lads to chat to and talk about batting, and although it’s probably going to be the same message that we’re giving, it might just help with a different voice.”

Moxon said there were no plans to extend the arrangement but did not rule out future outside assistance.

Helping out: Grant Flower is assisting Yorkshire. (Picture: Philip Brown/Getty Images)

He was impressed with the way that Flower, 47, helped prepare the Pakistan side for their recent Test match at Emerald Headingley, which prompted Yorkshire to make their move.

“The way I saw Pakistan practising prior to the Headingley Test, and certainly the way that they batted in the first Test at Lord’s, just made me think about it,” added Moxon.

“I talked to Grant at Headingley prior to the Test match and I saw how he was working with the players, and it kind of resonated that it would be a good thing while he’s here that we use him.

“As for any future arrangement, he’s obviously got a job with Pakistan so we’ll have to see how it goes.

“If the lads really relate to him and it goes well, who knows going forward what might come of it, but, at the minute, it’s purely for the first part of this game.”

Yorkshire’s use of Flower – the younger brother of former England head coach Andy – is their latest attempt to get more from a talented but unpredictable batting department.

Earlier this year, the club announced that they are to make greater use of their sports psychologist, Dr Mark Nesti, with every player from the Academy upwards having at least three sessions with him per year instead of the previous ad hoc arrangement.

The club are keen to leave no stone unturned as they try to address a problem that shows no sign of abating.

Yorkshire’s first innings totals this year have been 256, 96, 50 and 229, while their return of only three batting points is the lowest of any Division One side.

Yorkshire’s need for more consistency from their top-order will be urgent in Southampton, where a pink ball under floodlights will heighten the challenge.

Hampshire have the South African pace bowler Dale Steyn in their armoury, and although they are without a trio of spinners in the form of England’s Mason Crane (back), Brad Taylor (ankle) and Liam Dawson (England Lions), the hosts have recruited Middlesex off-spinner Ollie Rayner on loan for this game and for Monday’s match against Lancashire at Old Trafford.

Yorkshire are also without two players due to England Lions’ duty – batsman Tom Kohler-Cadmore and pace bowler Matthew Fisher.

It is a big game for both teams as Yorkshire seek quick revenge for their 107-run defeat in the semi-final of the Royal London Cup at Southampton on Monday, with Hampshire second-bottom of the Championship First Division and Yorkshire third-bottom – 33 points behind leaders Somerset.

Like Hampshire, Yorkshire are also back in action around 36 hours after the scheduled finish of this match when they face Surrey some 300 miles north at Scarborough on Monday – yet another example of the crazy fixture list.

“We’ve got two really important games now back-to-back and have to adjust quickly from the 50-over stuff,” said Moxon.

“That’s part and parcel of county cricket, and we’ve just got to get on with it as best we can.

“The games are coming thick and fast now, and we can take heart from the way we played in the 50-over format.”

Batsman-wicketkeeper Jonathan Tattersall, 23, makes his first-class debut today after impressive performances in the Royal London Cup – not least when he top-scored with 89 in the semi-final.