MARTYN MOXON believes Josh Shaw could have a Ben Coad-like impact as he backed the young pace bowler to seize his first-team chance.
The Yorkshire director of cricket said there is no reason why Shaw cannot break through as Coad did last summer, when the 24-year-old finished leading wicket-taker in his first full year with 50 at an average of 20.86.
Coad prospered after getting his opportunity through injuries at the start of the season, and another spate of knocks/T20 franchise call-ups has handed a similar chance to 22-year-old Shaw.
The Wakefield-born right-armer is set to make only his third County Championship appearance for the club in the game against Essex at Emerald Headingley, which got off to a false start yesterday when rain prevented play on the opening day of the new county season.
Asked whether Shaw could shine in the manner of Coad, one of six pace bowlers currently injured or unavailable due to the Indian Premier League, Moxon said: “I don’t see why not. We’re certainly hoping so.
“It gives him an opportunity to potentially do that, and it’s exciting for us to see a player like Josh show what he can do, and young Matthew Waite too.
“Coady wouldn’t have played last year if it hadn’t been for injuries, and look what happened to him. He got his chance and went on to have a great season, so we’re hoping that Josh – and Matthew –can do the same.
“Josh has worked hard this winter with (coach) Rich Pyrah, just tightening up his action and trying to get a bit more consistency, and that’s what we’re looking for from him now – greater consistency.”
Coady wouldn’t have played last year if it hadn’t been for injuries, and look what happened to him. He got his chance and went on to have a great season,Yorkshire director of cricket, Martyn Moxon
Although Yorkshire’s bowling is depleted at present, its usual strength has made it hard for the likes of Shaw to get first-team games.
Theoretically, Yorkshire could field an entire XI of pace bowlers, and most of Shaw’s opportunities have come on loan at Second Division Gloucestershire, for whom he played 16 Championship matches in the last two years, taking 45 wickets at 37.
“I think his move to Gloucestershire helped,” added Moxon. “When you’re playing first-team cricket it’s obviously a higher standard than second XI, and playing at a higher level is what you really need to develop.
“You can play second XI cricket for too long if you’re not careful, and you kind of level off or tail off, so you need to be challenged.
“But the signs this winter have been good from Josh, and hopefully he can take that step up and really become a force in first-team cricket.”
For the record, Yorkshire are currently without bowlers Liam Plunkett and David Willey (IPL), Matthew Fisher for around six weeks with a side strain, Steve Patterson for around four weeks with a broken finger sustained batting in the nets, Coad to a hip problem and James Wainman to another side issue.
Coad is in the 12 for the current match, but unlikely to be risked, with a probable return coming in a second team game against Lancashire next week with a view to possible selection for the Championship fixture against Notts at Headingley starting next Friday.
“A few days ago Galey (coach Andrew Gale) was scratching his head as to who he was going to leave out,” reflected Moxon.
“We’re at a point now where it’s ‘who have we got left fit to play?’
“It just goes to show that you never know until the first ball is bowled as to what might happen with injuries and so on. But that’s why we have a squad, for times such as this, and whatever XI we put out it will be a good team.”
Although the outfield looked good from the stands yesterday, a quick venture on to the playing area proved just how squelchy and uncomfortable it was underfoot.
Another delayed start is possible today, with the water table almost as high as the giant cranes that are being used for the construction of the new main stand.
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“The outfield has been waterlogged,” said Moxon.
“The bowlers run-ups; as soon you run in a few times you’re looking at mud and water coming up all over the place.
“We need some sun and wind very quickly.
“The weather’s terrible and has been grim for a while. We’ve managed to have a couple of practice sessions this week, but only with the floodlights on, woolly hats and gloves, and it’s just been so miserable that it’s no longer funny.”
Yorkshire’s frustration is heightened by the fact that they were itching to build on a successful pre-season tour to South Africa.
“The lads were in great shape after coming back from Potchefstroom, and that tour seems an age ago now,” added Moxon.
“To then have the weather that we’ve had over the last few weeks has been hugely frustrating, but the boys are still in very good spirits.”