Yorkshire CCC v Warwickshire: Ottis Gibson challenges White Rose to dig deep to finish on a high

MIND over matter. Anyone who has started the working day with a hangover (guilty, Your Worship), an illness or an impediment of some sort will know the feeling well.

Somehow, someway, you’ve just got to get through it.

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Soon enough it will be 5pm and time to go home, or, in the case of the average day of County Championship cricket, at least 6.45pm given the routinely slow over-rates.

Yorkshire's Haris Rauf has doubled the amount of four-day games he has played (Picture: SWPix.com)

Mind over matter” is Ottis Gibson’s message to his Yorkshire team this week.

His lads haven’t been hitting the sauce (not that we know of), they’re not ill and they’re not so impeded that they can’t rock up for work as usual to face Warwickshire at Headingley.

But they are cream-crackered, especially the bowlers, with this the last of six back-to-back Championship games in as many weeks, a schedule that does nothing for players or spectators.

One last effort, men, is the gist of Gibson’s message before a three-week break for the T20 Blast.

Yorkshire coach Ottis Gibson (Picture: SWPix.com)

“Every game we’ve bowled nearly 150 overs – that’s just the nature of some of the wickets that we’ve played on – and the overs add up and eventually take a toll on bowlers,” said the head coach.

“We’ve got one more game now before we get a natural break from four-day cricket with the T20 Blast starting, so I’ve asked them for one more great effort to try and see if we can finish this block of six games with a win.

“If we have two wins and four draws in this first six-week period, then that’s probably a good return for the sort of cricket that we’ve played.

“Mind over matter is what we need for this game; every game is a tough game and hopefully we’ll have freshened up and can be really strong-minded.”

Busy bowlers: Yorkshire's Jordan Thompson is congratulated by Haris Rauf on dismissing Kent's Matthew Quinn (Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWPix.com)

One bowler who has got through plenty of work, and unaccustomed work too, is Haris Rauf, the Pakistan quick. Rauf had played only four first-class games before coming to the club and has now doubled his total, sending down 126 overs in the process for 15 wickets.

This will be the 28-year-old’s last Championship appearance – he is available for the first five T20 games – and he will naturally be keen to sign off in style. He has impressed Gibson in conditions which have offered him – and indeed bowlers of all stripes – precious little help.

“Haris is young and he’s learning, and his pace has been an asset to us,” said Gibson. “The wickets have been flat and the ball has not really reversed that much for him, and he’s found it obviously challenging, but what he’s learning is there’s still a natural length to bowl, even though you might bowl 150k, that keeps you in the game as a bowler, and he’s having to learn that sometimes the hard way because with his pace it’s so easy to use his pace to score runs.

“As soon as he’s off line, it’s so easy to score runs off him. Overall, the first game in Gloucester he bowled brilliantly and bowled quick. He bowled us into the game at Northampton but then the wicket went flat. We’ve really relied on his pace and hopefully, like I’ve said to him, he’s got one more four-day game to make a real impact for us in that little block of games that he’s been here for.”

Gibson gave his players a couple of days off after the Roses match that finished on Sunday, the only game in which Yorkshire have been second-best so far, albeit they emerged with a draw to remain unbeaten.

Others with plenty of miles in their bowling legs this season are spinner Dom Bess (226 overs), all-rounder Jordan Thompson (185.3) and captain Steve Patterson (184.5). Yorkshire have the option to rotate if necessary, potentially recalling Matty Revis, with Tom Loten having played in the Lancashire match.

Both are in a 13-man squad that includes the highly-rated 19-year-old batsman Will Luxton, who did well in seven 50-over games last summer and is hoping for a first-class debut, although Yorkshire have resisted any temptation to make a change behind the stumps. Dawid Malan (sore Achilles) is rested.

“Tom (Loten) bowled nicely in some spells (against Lancashire),” said Gibson. “In the early stages he was very nervous, of course, but once he got over his nerves I thought he did very well. He gives us an option going forward.

“One of the things you want to do is give young players opportunities. Revis had played two or three on the bounce, which was a new experience for him, so we took the opportunity to freshen him up and put Loten in. Now we have the option to go back to Revis this week. Jordan’s played all five games, Patto’s played all five games, we might look at the dynamic of that and see if one of those guys needs freshening up.”

Plenty of options, plenty of nice selection headaches; then it’s just a case of mind over matter for the 11 who take to the field.

Yorkshire (from): Bess, Brook, Duke, Fraine, Hill, Loten, Luxton, Lyth, Patterson (captain), Rauf, Revis, Root, Thompson.