Hill upbeat again after "technical twitch"

GEORGE HILL has revealed how his “confidence was shot” prior to his maiden one-day century and paid tribute to the trio of coaches who helped him rediscover it.
George Hill, right, pictured walking out to bat at North Marine Road, Scarborough.George Hill, right, pictured walking out to bat at North Marine Road, Scarborough.
George Hill, right, pictured walking out to bat at North Marine Road, Scarborough.

The Yorkshire all-rounder admitted that he was in a difficult spot having not “really scored a bean for a month” before his 130 in the Royal London Cup against Worcestershire on Sunday.

Hill’s scores going into the game in Scarborough were, in chronological sequence, 0, 38, 19, 0, 0, 1 not out and 0.

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In his previous three completed innings, Hill had faced nine deliveries for no runs and been lbw each time.

However, a session with Martin Speight, his former Sedbergh School teacher, ironed out what Hill described as “a technical twitch” which, allied to conversations with Yorkshire coaches Ali Maiden and Tom Smith, had the desired effect.

Hill was outstanding at North Marine Road, marshalling a challenging chase of 247 with style and aplomb, striking 16 fours and a six in a 131-ball innings which confirmed, as if it was not already known, that he is a 21-year-old of considerable promise.

“It’s no secret that I haven’t really scored the runs that I wanted and probably should have, so it was nice to contribute to a win,” he said.

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“I just tried to enjoy myself as much as possible; I’ve spoken a lot to Ali and Smudge, and it’s probably more of a mindset thing.

“There was sort of a technical twitch that I’ve worked on; I went to see Speighty the other day, then Ali, Speighty and Smudge have been communicating and I think that helped me a lot.

“Definitely my confidence was shot. I think it was affecting my fielding as well. I wasn’t feeling 100 per cent in general and I also miss bowling (Hill recently sustained a toe injury which has prevented him from bowling in recent games).

“I don’t bowl as much as I’d probably like to anyway, but almost having that mentality of just being a batter adds a bit more pressure, if that makes sense, whereas as an all-rounder, if you don’t do so great with the bat, then you’ve always got your bowling to fall back on.

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“It was just a relief, to be fair, to get some runs and play a part in a win.”

Pressed on the technical issue, Hill said: “Basically, I didn’t have much rhythm and was feeling a bit jerky.

“My front foot was closing me off, and then my head was falling over and I was coming across the ball and ended up just kicking it basically, which I did three times in a row.

“I scored one run in four professional innings and I was thinking, ‘Oh my God, this is not ideal.’ But now I’ve got a bit more rhythm and I’m feeling more aligned.

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“It’s just a big relief, really, to get some runs. It always preys on the back of your mind. I hadn’t really scored a bean for a month, so it was nice to spend some time in the middle.”

If honest self-reflection is required for success, then Hill would appear to have no worries on that front.

The tall right-hander is candid when appraising his performances this summer, not least in County Championship cricket.

Pressed into service as an opening batsman, apart from when the Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne was at the club at the start of the campaign, Hill has had a steady season, scoring 511 Championship runs in 16 innings at 34.06.

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More than half of those runs came in two innings, however, 151 not out against Northamptonshire at Wantage Road, when he batted at No 3, and 131 against Hampshire in Southampton, and Hill is frustrated not to have kicked on from several 20s and 30s.

“If I’m being honest, I think it could have been better (my season),” he added. “Especially in the red-ball, I’ve got into the 20s and 30s and then I’ve given it away with soft dismissals. I think that’s a big learning curve.

“As an opener, the hardest bit is the first 30 or 40 balls. When you pass that, obviously it gets a bit easier. That’s the frustrating thing, doing that kind of well, and getting bowlers back into their second spells, but then playing like a really bad shot and getting out.

“That’s something I’m looking to work on in the winter, which is probably more of a mindset thing than anything, I think.”

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Hill will be aiming to build on Sunday’s performance in Cardiff, where Yorkshire face Glamorgan in the fourth of eight group games after two wins from three.

He did well in the corresponding match last year, scoring 25 and then taking his side’s best figures of 3-49 as Glamorgan collapsed from 180-1 to a closing score of 226-8 in pursuit of 231 to win, with Yorkshire’s victory taking them through to the knockout stages.

“That was a good win,” said Hill. “They’ve got a strong team, so it will be a good test down there.”

Yorkshire (from): Bean, Bess, Cliff, Coad, Duke, Fraine, Hill, Luxton, Loten, Revis, Shutt, Sullivan, Tattersall (captain), Waite.