Yorkshire CCC v Kent: Ottis Gibson happy to let young stars flourish

OTTIS GIBSON has paid tribute to Yorkshire’s young cricketers, insisting that winning the County Championship is going to take “a squad effort” and that nothing is won with “a one-man show”.

Yorkshire have won one and drawn one of their opening games (Picture: Getty Images)
Yorkshire have won one and drawn one of their opening games (Picture: Getty Images)

The Yorkshire head coach leads his side into the match against Kent at Headingley with the camp in high spirits following an encouraging start to the four-day season.

Yorkshire opened their campaign with a six-wicket win against Gloucestershire in Bristol and backed it up by having the better of a draw against Northamptonshire at Wantage Road.

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Although it has been a team effort so far, with everyone chipping in to some extent, central to Yorkshire’s progress has been the work of their young players, a fact that augurs well for the weeks and months ahead.

Jordan Thompson (R) of Yorkshire celebrates with team mate George Hill after taking the wicket of Ben Sanderson during the LV= Insurance County Championship match between Northamptonshire and Yorkshire at The County Ground on April 22, 2022 in Northampton, England. (Picture: David Rogers/Getty Images)

“The average age of the squad is quite young if you take Patto (captain Steve Patterson) and Lythy (Adam Lyth) out of it,” noted Gibson. “They’re very important for us as well as the senior elders in the team, and driving the culture, but, by and large, it’s a young squad.

“I want to give young guys an opportunity and I’m happy when I see guys like (Matthew) Revis and (George) Hill take their opportunity (against Northants). That’s very good for us going forward. Winning the County Championship is going to be a squad effort, it isn’t going to be a one-man show. Every game somebody is going to have an opportunity to do something great to help us to win, and that’s what we’re going to need.”

Hill and Revis were the biggest plusses in Northampton.

Hill, the 21-year-old all-rounder, scored his maiden first-class hundred in the second innings – a magnificent 151 not out having dropped down to No 3 to accommodate new overseas signing Dimuth Karaunaratne.

Ottis Gibson: Yorkshire head coach not afraid to give youth its chance in Championship.

Revis, a year younger than Hill, and another excellent all-round prospect, was Yorkshire’s most successful bowler in the game with six wickets – 3-43 in the first innings from 12 overs; 3-57 in the second from 20.4. He also chipped in with an unbeaten 31 from the No 9 position having made his first-class debut against this week’s opponents as an opening batsman in 2019.

Of Hill, Gibson said: “We saw a lot of good signs from him in pre-season in Dubai. We backed him at the top of the order in the first (Championship) game and when Dimuth came we moved him to three and he looked really good for his 150. It was well deserved. Hopefully that’s the catalyst for him to kick on and have a really good season.

“He’s a good player, a good kid. He works hard. We’re trying to help him understand his game a little bit better, explore his range of shots and options and so on, and it was good to see him, especially to spin, coming down the wicket, hitting over the top, not being afraid to hit over the top and so on and be brave. That’s what you like to see from young cricketers, them going out and expressing themselves and playing with a little bit of youthful exuberance, as I call it.”

Of Revis, the former West Indies fast bowler added: “He certainly made the most of his opportunity and bowled really well. Of course we know about his batting, but he bowled really well for us and took important wickets, looked a threat the whole way through. That’s good for him going forward.

“He’s been encouraged to bowl fast and he delivered. I’m really pleased for him. Hopefully this is the start of a really good summer for him, too.”

The batting has been something of a problem for Yorkshire in recent seasons and no doubt remains a work in progress, but there have been positive signs in the first two games.

Harry Brook has produced scores of 101, 56 not out, 84 and 77 not out, while Dawid Malan has passed fifty three times in four innings. Adam Lyth has hit two fifties, Jordan Thompson one, and there have been useful contributions from several other players.

Bowling-wise, Haris Rauf has looked a fine signing and taken the most wickets (nine) and bowled the most overs (87), supplying firepower and stamina, while Patterson has basically done Patterson things, going at less than two runs an over and relentlessly hammering a good line and length.

“When you have a batting line-up of Lyth, who is very experienced, and Karaunaratne, who is very experienced, albeit with his first county, and when you’ve got Malan and Brook in very good form, and then you add Root to that and Kohler-Cadmore to come back too, it’s very good,” said Gibson.

“Gary (Ballance) is out of the picture at the moment because we don’t know what’s going on with Gary just yet, but if we get some good news about him in the next few weeks and he can play at any part of the summer, then that gives us a very solid look to the batting-line-up.

“The way Haris Rauf kept coming in all the time at Northants – he was really trying hard to get us to the win – there’s a lot to be excited about. Everyone is playing their part.”

Yorkshire will encounter a familiar face this week in Jack Leaning, who will captain Kent.

Yorkshire have announced a 12-man squad: Bess, Brook, Duke, Hill, Karunaratne, Loten, Lyth, Malan, Patterson (captain), Rauf, Revis, Thompson.