Yorkshire in safe hands as Jonny Tattersall grabs second chance

Yorkshire wicketkeeper Jonny Tattersall.
Yorkshire wicketkeeper Jonny Tattersall.
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JONNY TATTERSALL is relishing his second coming as a Yorkshire cricketer.

The 23-year-old was released by the club in 2015 after making one first-team appearance two years earlier.

Tattersall played for the Derbyshire second XI and also represented minor county Lincolnshire before returning to Yorkshire at the end of 2016.

He scored a hundred in a second team match against Notts, earning a deal for the first half of 2017 which was later extended for the rest of the summer, since when he has gone from strength to strength.

Tattersall has played in Yorkshire’s last five Royal London Cup matches, a run that has coincided with five straight wins to set up a semi-final against Hampshire at Southampton on Monday.

“Hopefully, I’ve got a long career ahead of me now,” said Tattersall, whose unbeaten 52 in Yorkshire’s final group game against Northamptonshire helped them through to the knockout stages.

I’ve always known how to do the job, but it’s obviously a completely different kettle of fish doing it in county cricket, but I’m pleased with how it’s going.

Yorkshire’s Jonny Tattersall

“You never really expect it (getting released), but it was definitely something that I still wanted to do, being a pro cricketer, so I went away to Australia twice, trialled at Derbyshire and played for Lincolnshire, and then got a chance to play for the Yorkshire second team again.

“I still had a great relationship with everyone at Yorkshire and thankfully was able to take the opportunity.

“Sometimes, you learn a lot about yourself when you’re not in the set-up – my family have also supported me and helped me out massively – and I’m just enjoying playing for the club.”

Tattersall’s run in the first XI came after he decided to concentrate on his wicketkeeping skills during the close season.

Despite his strong form for the seconds, he needed something extra to press his first-team claims, so went for what he calls a “cheeky” career move.

“It was something that I discussed with the coaching staff to help my chances of getting in the side,” he said. “I did a little bit of keeping when I was a junior – my brother and dad are wicketkeepers too – and I’ve always had it a little bit in the genes.

“I’ve always known how to do the job, but it’s obviously a completely different kettle of fish doing it in county cricket, but I’m pleased with how it’s going.”

Tattersall’s glovework is a handy option given that Yorkshire are mostly without Jonny Bairstow due to England duty.

Bairstow’s understudy, Andrew Hodd, is hanging up his gloves at the end of the season, giving Tattersall more potential chances going forward.

The Harrogate-born player, who was educated in Knaresborough, has yet to play a first-class match.

But he hopes to win opportunities too in the County Championship.

“I’ve played a lot of one-day cricket over the years, but my game’s probably set up a little bit more for red-ball cricket anyway,” he said. “If the chance comes along in that regard, hopefully I can grab it.

“Andy Hodd is obviously world-class behind the stumps and still contributes a lot to Yorkshire cricket. I’ve just got to keep working hard and try to contribute.”

Andrew Gale, the Yorkshire first team coach, has been impressed with Tattersall’s form.

He certainly sees a role for the ex-England U-19s player in red-ball cricket.

Asked whether Tattersall could step up into the Championship side, Gale replied: “Definitely. The No 6 spot has been a bit difficult for us, and Tatts could balance the team out in that respect. We’ll have to have a good look at that.

“I think he’s done really well lately because he only started keeping at Christmas. I think he maybe missed one half-chance in the match at Leicester; other than that, he’s not looked out of place at all.

“We know that Hoddy’s not getting any younger, Jonny’s never here, and we like to back our own as much as possible.

“Tatt probably hasn’t scored the runs to justify a place in the first team, so we had a chat with him at Christmas and said, ‘why not just give it (keeping) a go until March and see where it takes you?’

“If it’s not working out and it’s not for you, then we’ve not lost anything. But he’s really enjoyed it. The pre-season tour in South Africa was an opportunity to look at him and he looked the part, and he’s carried on from there.”