Headingley key to Yorkshire beating the drop, says captain Patterson

CONFIDENT: Yorkshire captain Steve Patterson. Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com
CONFIDENT: Yorkshire captain Steve Patterson. Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com
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STEVE PATTERSON believes it would be wrong to read too much into Yorkshire’s position in the County Championship relegation zone.

The county are second-bottom of the First Division at the halfway stage of the season, one place and three points adrift of safety.

It is not what the 2014 and 2015 winners had in mind going into the summer, but captain Patterson insists there is plenty of time to put things right.

“There’s still a lot of cricket left to play. I wouldn’t read too much into it at this stage,” he said.

“It’s tough at the minute, but you win a couple of games and you go right up there.

“We’ve just got to play more consistent cricket, and, if we do that, we’ll be absolutely fine.”

On the way back: New Zealand's Kane Williamson. Picture: AP

On the way back: New Zealand's Kane Williamson. Picture: AP

Yorkshire have 68 points from their seven matches, which have brought two wins, two draws and three defeats.

They are 14 points above bottom club Worcestershire, who have also played seven games, and have a match in hand on the three sides directly above them – Lancashire (71 points), Hampshire (72) and Essex (92).

It is far from panic stations at this stage, particularly with five of Yorkshire’s remaining seven fixtures coming against fellow strugglers Worcestershire (home and away), Lancashire (home and away) and Hampshire (home).

Patterson also believes Yorkshire can take advantage of the fact that four of the last seven games are at home: three at Emerald Headingley against Somerset, Lancashire and Hampshire, and one at Scarborough, against Worcestershire.

We’ve got a few games in September at Headingley, where you think there’d be an opportunity to get some positive results,

Yorkshire captain Steve Patterson

“We’ve got a few games in September at Headingley, where you think there’d be an opportunity to get some positive results,” he said.

“We’ve also got another game to come at Scarborough, a ground where we always enjoy playing.

“We’ve had a couple of poor results there recently, unfortunately, but our record there prior to that has been good.

“It was disappointing to lose at Scarborough to Surrey last week, but they’re a very good side and we played some fantastic cricket for two-and-a-half days only for a bad hour or so with the bat to cost us.”

Yorkshire’s batting remains their biggest concern.

The club are working hard to try and rectify an ongoing problem, including making extra use of a sports psychologist and enlisting outside help in the form of former Zimbabwe batsman Grant Flower, who recently spent some time with the players.

Yorkshire should be bolstered by the return of New Zealand batsman Kane Williamson for their next three Championship games, beginning with the Roses match at Old Trafford from July 22.

Liam Plunkett and David Willey will be available after England’s white-ball commitments finish in a fortnight, while Tom Kohler-Cadmore can inject vital runs after England Lions selection prevented him from featuring in the last two games along with pace bowler Matt Fisher.

“The key for us is just that consistency,” added Patterson. “For long periods, we drove the game against Surrey and were right on top, but we need to put that kind of form together for all four days as opposed to two-and-a-half.

“Three or four years ago, we did that to a lot of sides (coming back to win as Surrey did after being under the pump), but when you’re a little bit low on confidence these things can creep in. We just need to find a way of putting a performance together across all four days.”

No-one is working more tirelessly towards that goal than Patterson in company with first-team coach Andrew Gale and director of cricket Martyn Moxon.

There will come a point, in the not-too-distant future, when those men must lock heads in respect of the captaincy situation long term, with Patterson having recently been appointed until the end of the season after Gary Ballance stepped down to focus on his batting.

Asked if he wants to continue in the role beyond this summer, Patterson said: “To be honest, I’ve not thought that far ahead.

“It’s a long way off. We’re only halfway through this year, and a lot can happen between now and then, both on-and-off the field.

“We’ll know better where we stand at the end of the year, and I’m sure there’ll come a stage where I’ll sit down with Galey and Martyn and they’ll tell me their plans going forward.

“If that’s me continuing, then absolutely fine. If they want to go a different direction, it’s out of my hands.”

Yorkshire start their Vitality T20 Blast campaign tomorrow against Durham at Headingley (6.30pm start).

Ben Stokes will play for the visitors as a batsman only in an attempt to prove his fitness for England after a hamstring injury.

Yorkshire (from): Ballance, Bresnan, Brook, Brooks, Coad, Fisher, Kohler-Cadmore, Leaning, Lyth, Patterson (capt), Rafiq, Shaw, Tattersall.