No stopping Yorkshire in bid to end their one-day drought

Yorkshire century-maker Jack Leaning (Picture: Alex Whitehead/ century-maker Jack Leaning (Picture: Alex Whitehead/
Yorkshire century-maker Jack Leaning (Picture: Alex Whitehead/
JACK LEANING believes there is no limit to what Yorkshire can achieve this season in one-day cricket.

The Yorkshire batsman feels they can go far in the 50-over Royal London Cup and the NatWest T20 Blast.

Yorkshire have won their last three 50-over matches to go top of the North Group with three games left.

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They have also won five of their last six T20 fixtures to climb from bottom of the table to third, with victory in their final group game, at Northants this coming Friday, definitely sealing a quarter-final place.

Yorkshire, who are only 25 points off the top in the County Championship with games in hand and key players set to return from injury, are in the hunt for a hat-trick of trophies.

It will be a tall order – not least because the club have not won any one-day silverware for 14 years.

However, as back-to-back county champions, Yorkshire know how to get over the line in Championship cricket, and they are the form side in the one-day formats.

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For Leaning, it is a case of maintaining momentum as the club seek long-awaited one-day success.

“If we can keep this kind of one-day form going, there’s no limits to where we can go really,” he said. “There’s no reason why we can’t go really far in both white-ball comps.

“Momentum is a massive thing. Although you can never be complacent, it’s looking good if we can continue the form that we’ve show in the last couple of weeks or so.”

Leaning epitomises the transformation that Yorkshire have made to their one-day season.

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The 22-year-old has made important contributions to the last two T20 wins, and he recorded his first hundred of the summer in the victory at Leicestershire on Sunday in the 50-over Cup.

Leaning smashed a one-day career-best 131 not out from 110 balls with seven fours and five sixes as Yorkshire won by 191 runs at Grace Road.

You could almost see the confidence oozing out of him and from Alex Lees’s players collectively.

“The boys are feeling really confident at the moment,” said Leaning.

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“One-day cricket is massively about confidence, and we’re playing a real positive brand of cricket.

“I think we’ve just kind of found ourselves a bit of a formula lately, and it’s been working.

“It’s good that we’re peaking at the right time of the season, and, hopefully, we can keep it going.”

Leaning shared in a Yorkshire record one-day partnership of 274 at Grace Road with Travis Head.

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The Australian smashed 175 on his county List A debut, Yorkshire’s second-highest individual innings in one-day cricket behind Darren Lehmann’s 191 against Notts at Scarborough 15 years ago, with Notts also Yorkshire’s opponents at North Marine Road tomorrow in the 50-over Cup (11am start).

“Travis is a pleasure to bat with,” said Leaning. “It’s pretty easy to bat at the other end with someone like that when they’re smashing the ball to the ropes all the time.

“He’s a serious talent; he’s only 22, and he’s going to play a lot of international cricket for Australia. He strikes the ball so cleanly and he takes all the pressure off you when he scores so quickly.”

Leaning, whose previous one-day hundred was 111 not out against Essex at Scarborough in 2014, felt he had been threatening a three-figure score.

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The right-hander has faced his challenges this season, experiencing the ups-and-downs that young players come up against, but it all came right on Sunday afternoon.

“It was nice to get a few runs and to get my first hundred of the season,” he said.

“I felt like it had been coming for a while and that a big score was just around the corner.

“It’s come now, and, hopefully, I can kick on and have a big last couple of months of the season. Hopefully, I can get back into the Championship side and contribute a few big hundreds as well.”

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When Leaning talks of confidence, it was evident in the way he smashed the third ball of his innings at Grace Road for six over long-on, continuing the big-hitting power he has shown in T20.

“It’s something I’ve been working on and practising,” he said. “I’ve always been able to do it, it’s just about going out there and actually doing it.

“It’s easy to go into your shell when you’re out of form, and I’ve made a real conscious effort to try and go the other way and be very positive.

“It’s also pretty easy coming in at 160-3 in T20, or whatever, because it means you’ve got a licence to try and hit every ball for six.”