Kent v Yorkshire - Steve Patterson and White Rose playing it safe to minimise Covid risk

YORKSHIRE’s cricketers are travelling independently to away games this season in an effort to reduce the chances of them missing matches due to coronavirus.

Steve Patterson and Yorkshire are playing Kent this week (Picture: Bruce Rollinson)

The club has introduced new protocols – starting with today’s game at Kent – to minimise the risk of players catching Covid-19.

Yorkshire are also paying for additional overnight hotel stays to ensure that players are fresh and fighting fit.

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The measures will be reviewed as the season goes on.

Club captain Steve Patterson told The Yorkshire Post: “We’re all travelling in individual cars now just to try and keep it as safe as possible.

“With us all testing for Covid a couple of times a week using these lateral flow tests, the last thing you want is somebody testing positive having been in a car for five hours with somebody else because it rules two of them out.

“We’re just trying to take as many precautions as we can. Also, everybody is staying in single rooms now whereas in past years, in normal years, some of the younger lads would room together.

“The other big difference this year is that instead of travelling on the coach the day before the game, we’re all driving down individually two days beforehand, either in the afternoon or evening, so that we can have a good sleep in the next morning, a leisurely morning, and then train in the afternoon.

“It just takes a bit of pressure off in terms of having to be sat in a car for a number of hours.

“Also, when we come home, we’ve got the option of staying over the night a match finishes so, if a game goes until 6pm on the final day, you’re not then having to jump in the car if you’ve been in the field for 90 overs and drive straight home.

“We’re basically taking all the precautions that we can to make it as easy and as safe as possible.”

Patterson, who will again be without the former England batsman Gary Ballance this week after a setback in his recovery from a concussion injury, is hoping that an extra night in Canterbury will help the side as they seek to bounce back from a disappointing draw with Glamorgan in their opening match.

Yorkshire were ‘behind the eight-ball’ for much of the game at Emerald Headingley – and might even have been saved by the snow which claimed most of day three.

“We were poor last week and need to be better,” said Patterson, who is also without new-ball pair Ben Coad (shoulder) and Matthew Fisher (abdominal) who broke down against Glamorgan and face up to five and four weeks out respectively.

“We need to pick ourselves up and perform a lot better. We still managed to get a draw out of the game, which is a positive to work on, and if we play the cricket we’re capable of then we can certainly get a positive result against Kent.

“They’re a good side – they’ve got (Zak) Crawley and (Joe) Denly back who’ve been on England duties of late – and we know we’re going to have to play well.”

Patterson is looking forward to seeing one face especially –former Yorkshire batsman Jack Leaning.

The 27-year-old has done well since moving south last year, scoring a career-best, unbeaten 220 against Sussex at Canterbury last August and starting this season with 79 in the draw at Northamptonshire.

“I speak to Jack quite a bit,” said Patterson. “He’s a close friend and he’s enjoying the set-up. I’m pleased for him because he was a little bit in-and-out with us in the last couple of years, never really cemented his spot as much as he would have liked, so a fresh start was a good option for him.

“They’ve backed him and he’s been a regular in the side and repaid them with some valuable runs, so I’m delighted for him as a friend and I hope he has a good week – but not too good a week.”

Patterson said the pair had shared plenty of banter ahead of the game.

“We’ve had a few jokes about it,” he said. “I don’t think he’s overly excited about facing me, but he’s sent me a screenshot of the wicket he took against Northants, telling me that if I come into bat he’s going to be getting loose [Leaning took only his ninth first-class wicket when he dismissed Ricardo Vasconcelos with his occasional off-spin].

“Of course, it’s always nice to play against your old team-mates. We’ve had it in the past when Jack Brooks played for Somerset, so it will be lovely to see Jack again but, once we’ve got our whites on and we’re out there in the field, we’ll be trying to win.”

Squad: Bess, Brook, Hill, Kohler-Cadmore, Loten, Lyth, Olivier, Patterson (captain), Pillans, Root, Tattersall, Thompson, Willey.

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