Thompson came from nowhere last year to be player-of-the-season, seizing his chance when fellow all-rounder Matthew Waite went down injured on the eve of the campaign.
Thompson, 24, was the club’s leading wicket-taker in the Bob Willis Trophy and second only to England’s Dawid Malan in the club’s batting averages. He is a cricketer very much in the Gale mould – and the coach is predicting big things again.
“What I like about Tommo is that he’s a real competitor,” said Gale. “He always makes things happen in games. He takes the game on and he’s certainly my type of cricketer, someone who you want in your team.
“I think he’s got a great attitude towards the game. He’s a fighter, a guy that you want in the trenches with you, and he’s already carried on from where he left off last year, performing brilliantly in the win at Kent, and he can build on that now going forward.”
Gale admitted that he took a calculated gamble by throwing Thompson into action in Canterbury last week after the player had missed the opening match of the season with a calf injury.
It was a punt that paid off handsomely, with Thompson a catalyst for the final victory push with three of the first five wickets in the Kent second innings – including England internationals Zak Crawley and Joe Denly.
“I was slightly concerned about Tommo going into the game,” admitted Gale, whose side are hoping to build on their 200-run victory when they take on Sussex at Hove, starting today.
“He didn’t have any game-time under his belt; he hadn’t played a single game since last September because of injury, so we sort of took a risk on him. But I was keen to get him back ASAP, particularly with Ben Coad and Matthew Fisher out injured, and he looked like he’d never been away.
“Tommo sets high standards of himself; he comes into the team and he just expects to turn it on, and that’s what I love about him.”
Thompson’s performance – allied to David Willey’s best bowling figures for Yorkshire of 5-61 – built on superb centuries by Adam Lyth (116) and Joe Root (101) in the Yorkshire second innings, with Lyth also hitting 97 in the first innings.
Gale hopes it is the spur as his side look to make it two wins out of three.
“I thought we performed really well at Kent, but I still think we were an eight out of 10 and we’re not getting carried away,” he said.
“If we’re being brutally honest, we probably gave them too many wickets on the first day, and to become a side that’s right at the top end of county cricket, they’re the sort of things we need to improve.
“So really well played and proud of the boys, but can we get to a nine out of 10 or a 10 out of 10 against Sussex?”
Gale, who welcomes back Gary Ballance after the batsman missed the first two games with concussion, is expecting a faster pitch than at Canterbury. He feels that could play into Yorkshire’s hands – not least those of South African speedster Duanne Olivier.
“We haven’t played at Hove for a long time (2015), and it used to be a bit of a slow featherbed, but I’m told now there’s a bit of pace and bounce in the wicket, and that would be really good for us,” said Gale.
“Speaking to Gunner [Ian Gould], the umpire [at Kent], he said they’re really good, fast bouncy pitches now, so I think that will be good for the game and potentially for Duanne too.
“What I’ve liked about Duanne in the last two games is that he’s stepped up, and although he may not have the numbers on the board, he’s rolled his sleeves up and he always wants the ball; he doesn’t shy away from hard work,” he said.
“I thought his lines and lengths [against Kent] were as good as I’ve ever seen him bowl for Yorkshire, and he bowled a lot fuller on a pitch that wasn’t really suited to him, so if he bowls like that on quicker pitches he’ll get his rewards.”
Yorkshire (probable): Lyth, Kohler-Cadmore, Ballance, Root, Brook, Tattersall, Thompson, Bess, Willey, Patterson (captain), Olivier.
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