Even to a humble observer such as myself, however, it has always seemed that Will Fraine has got something, a certain quality which has not always been reflected in his scores at times.
One saw it in a little gem of an innings in the T20 quarter-final at Surrey last month, when Fraine’s unbeaten 32 from 14 balls took Yorkshire to a total which his efforts in the field then helped them to defend.
In the first instance, it was easy to overlook Fraine’s contribution because of Tom Kohler-Cadmore’s excellent half-century earlier in the piece and, in the second, because of Jordan Thompson’s remarkable last over in which he somehow defended the five runs needed.
But without a nerveless catch in that over by Fraine on the deep backward-square boundary, when Sunil Narine made sweet contact, along with some fine fielding from him earlier on too, Yorkshire would not have got over the line.
Indeed, the capacity to have made a complete mess of that catch under pressure was as great as the Oval gasometer, but Fraine kept his cool in a contribution that should not be overlooked.
Less ambiguous, of course, was Fraine’s contribution in York on Tuesday, when, in smashing 143 from 107 balls with 12 fours and eight sixes against Northants, he made not only the highest score of his professional career but also helped Yorkshire to a 33-run win in their opening game in the Royal London Cup, after which he modestly deflected praise on to his team-mates for “starting the comp in the manner that they did”.
That day, any fool could see that Fraine has got something (ditto Harry Duke, who hit 111, and Will Luxton, 84). Now the 26-year-old Fraine is hoping to “kick-on” in both red-ball and white-ball to reveal more regularly his quality in all formats.
“I think I’ve shown promise in first-team cricket, in red-ball and white-ball, and I’ve got myself a little role in the T20 hopefully,” said Fraine, who played age-group cricket for Yorkshire before signing for Notts and then rejoining his naive county in late 2018. “Hopefully, I can kick-on from that innings (against Northants) and keep doing well.
“Consistency is something that comes with age, comes with experience, and is obviously something that you’re always striving for. I’ve been in-and-out of the side at times and it can be quite difficult if you’ve got just one opportunity, say, to take it, but I’ve felt really good this year and the most confident I’ve been in my career, so hopefully that continues.”
Fraine scored a fifty in Yorkshire’s most recent County Championship game, against Hampshire in Scarborough, one of four appearances in that tournament this season for the tall right-hander. There is the sense of a player increasingly at ease with himself and the challenges of the game, both mental and cricketing.
“This year, I’ve tried not to put pressure on myself,” added Fraine, as Yorkshire prepared for their quickfire return to York for today’s 50-over Roses match. “In white-ball, I’ve always felt comfortable – I’ve always been able to strike the ball – but red-ball I’ve had to work hard at. Once you’ve got a method and feel confident, which I do at the moment, it becomes easier, because often we end up over-complicating when things aren’t going well, and I think I’ve been very guilty of that in the past.
“I care a lot. I’m quite an emotional guy. When things aren’t quite going right, I can get down on myself. This year, I’m trying not to do that, I’m trying to stay level. Good days are good days, bad days are bad days.”
The philosophy seems to be working well.
Yorkshire squad versus Lancashire: Bean, Bess, Cliff, Coad, Duke, Fraine, Hill, Luxton, Loten, Revis, Shutt, Sullivan, Tattersall (captain), Waite.