Yorkshire CCC pace duo tipped to progress and spearhead England attack

YORKSHIRE bowling coach Rich Pyrah believes that the county’s pace aces Ben Coad and Matthew Fisher can become the best new-ball partnership in England.

Tipped for top: Yorkshire’s Ben Coad. Pictures: SWPix
Tipped for top: Yorkshire’s Ben Coad. Pictures: SWPix

Pyrah feels that they are that good, saying that all they need is an extended run in the team and better luck with injuries to prove it.

His comments come as Yorkshire ramp up preparations for the new season, with the players set to resume training as Yorkshire plan their assault on all three domestic trophies next year.

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Key to Yorkshire’s prospects in the County Championship, especially, could be 26-year-old Coad and 23-year-old Fisher, whom Yorkshire hope can lead their attack in the same way that Ryan Sidebottom and Jack Brooks spearheaded it to back-to-back Championship titles in 2014/2015 – the club’s last silverware.

Optimistic: Rich Pyrah.

Pyrah told The Yorkshire Post: “If Coady and Fish keep developing as they are, I think that they will become the best opening bowling partnership in the country.

“All they need is better luck with injuries and to play more regularly.

“They’ve certainly got all bases covered. Skill-wise, Fisher’s got that extra yard of pace and Coady holds his length, and I think they complement each other really well.”

Coad and Fisher have had enough injuries between them to last a lifetime.

Injury problems: Yorkshire’s Matthew Fisher.

Coad, who has taken his 157 first-class wickets at the strikingly impressive average of 19.93, missed a significant chunk of the truncated summer just gone with a side problem; he had previously been affected by side and hip injuries.

Fisher, who is still making his way in first-class cricket, in which he has appeared 15 times including his debut in 2015, also missed part of last season with an abdominal strain.

He has been particularly affected by bad luck in terms of his body, having also had hamstring, side, toe, thumb, back and shoulder problems over the years.

Yet there is no doubt that when Yorkshire can get him on the park, Fisher has the quality to produce in all formats, and he is also a promising late-order batsman. Coad, too, is no mug with the bat, and he can also adapt to the various formats.

Small wonder that Pyrah is excited by what they might achieve in years ahead – and not just for Yorkshire, but potentially for England further down the line.

“I definitely think that if Fish has a good, consistent couple of years that we will lose him (to England),” said Pyrah. “He’s that good that he will end up going up a level.

“But that’s what we want at the end of the day. If he’s doing that and performing well, then we’ll be performing well as a team.

“As for Coady, he’s as skilful a bowler as you’re going to get.

“People have said that his pace could count against him at international level, but you can get wrapped up thinking just about pace.

“Look at someone like Vernon Philander. He averaged 22 in Test cricket for South Africa and he bowled at the same pace as Ben Coad.

“No disrespect to Vernon Philander, but I honestly think that Coady knows more about what he’s doing with the ball than Philander did, so there’s no reason why he can’t go up a level and play Test cricket.

“It’s probably just changing people’s mindsets as to whether you always need to have that pace.

“On certain pitches you probably do, but there’s no reason why Coady can’t be successful in Test cricket.”

For now, Pyrah and Yorkshire are delighted to have Coad and Fisher working in tandem at Emerald Headingley.

With club captain Steve Patterson still going strong at the age of 37, and having recently signed a two-year contract extension, Yorkshire have quality and experience aplenty.

Throw into the mix the likes of Jordan Thompson, the 24-year-old all-rounder who was Yorkshire’s player of the season in 2020; fellow all-rounder Matthew Waite, who is only 25, the 19-year-old pace prospect Dominic Leech and 28-year-old South African overseas player Duanne Olivier, and the club is not light in the pace bowling ranks.

“We’ve worked hard to get where we are,” said Pyrah. “Patto’s Patto – you always know what you’re going to get. Then we’ve got Thommo as the all-rounder, and Waitey is another who will hopefully have better luck with injuries and stay fit.

“Leechy is an exciting prospect, while Duanne has got that bit of extra pace and gives us something a little bit different.

“We’ve got a nice balanced attack there and one that can be successful for a number of years.”

Yorkshire are also well covered in terms of spin bowling. The recruitment of England off-spinner Dom Bess, 23, on a four-year deal from Somerset looks every bit as shrewd a signing as that, late last year, of the England batsman Dawid Malan.

Jack Shutt, the 23-year-old off-spinner, will get better with the more chances he gets: ditto the 19-year-old left-arm chinaman bowler Sam Wisniewski, who made a favourable impression in T20 last summer.

Josh Poysden, the 29-year-old leg-spinner, remains another excellent option, and although Adil Rashid, 32, may not have played much for the club in recent times, Yorkshire believe that he still has a big part to play in white-ball cricket as and when England commitments allow.

“The spinners are all very different types of bowlers,” said Pyrah.

“They offer us great variety and cover all bases.

“Bessy is a real all-round package, Shutty has shown some real promise, Josh is another who deserves better luck with injuries and Wis is something different again – a left-arm chinaman, which you don’t see very often.”