There are certain players who are synonymous with certain counties: Graham Hick with Worcestershire, Paul Collingwood with Durham and James Foster with Essex – to name a few. This week one of those players announced he would be leaving the county with which he is synonymous, as Tim Bresnan announced he would be leaving Yorkshire with immediate effect.
In testament to the man he does not want to block the way of young players, and by moving on he ensures that they get the same opportunities that he did as a young player.
Bresnan has worn the white rose on his chest, and his heart on his sleeve for his county, since he made his List A debut against Kent back in 2001, 19 years ago. He remained until he played, unbeknownst to everyone at the time, his last match for the county – also against Kent – although this time in the first class game.
In between those two matches, he represented Yorkshire in over 500 matches and helped them to two county championship titles and a Friends Provident Trophy victory. In addition to that silverware, Bresnan has also given the Yorkshire members some great memories. I doubt anyone will ever forget him sliding across the sodden Headingley outfield on his knees after defeating Lancashire in a T20 game in front of the Sky Cameras, having run out Stephen Parry.
If you listen to the commentary of that fantastic night back in 2017, Nasser Hussain sums up the moment perfectly saying: “Tim Bresnan: keep him out of the game if you can.”
That has always been difficult and it is not the intention of Bresnan right now. He wants to play cricket and by leaving Yorkshire he hopes he can play in all formats for another county.
Bresnan has said that 13 weeks of extensive cycling during lockdown has left him in better shape than he ever has been, so he will be looking for a county where he can get plenty of game time.
Essex may be a draw. Bresnan’s old team mate Anthony McGrath is in charge there, they are in Division One of the Championship and with Ravi Bopara having left for Sussex and Matt Coles having been released they will be lacking an experienced all rounder in their squad. With Bopara’s departure, Essex will have some spare money to pay his wages.
Another old colleague is in charge of Sussex. Jason Gillespie is someone with whom Bresnan has experienced success, winning both their county championship titles together. Although Sussex’s signing of Bopara may stop this move. Another experienced all rounder in their mid 30s, who will not be cheap, is probably not high on Sussex’s agenda.
Both of these plans would require a move of house for Bresnan, a proud northern lad, and he may not want to relocate to the south of the country. This could point to a move nearer to home.
Durham may be an option. With Mark Wood likely to be away from the county more and more, an experienced replacement may be required. Durham have Ben Raine, however, and Paul Coughlin has returned from his injury hit stay at Nottinghamshire, so the allrounder position is more than adequately filled. The county are also still bearing the brunt of ECB sanctions and may not have the cash to sign a man of Bresnan’s experience and value.
Derbyshire had previously shown an interest in signing Bresnan, before he signed a contract extension at Yorkshire, and they may look again. Bresnan is likely out of their price bracket, though, but Nottinghamshire may be interested. They undoubtably have the finances to sign Bresnan, and Peter Moores will have worked with Bresnan at England level so will know him well. Like Sussex, however, the Outlaws have previously signed an experienced all rounder, this time in Peter Trego.
An outside bet may be Northamptonshire. With Ben Sanderson knocking on the England door, he may start missing a few games and the squad looks a little light on bowling. Also, Bresnan could realistically commute when required too.
The only county I would 100% bet against Bresnan joining is the red rose county over the Pennines. A true Yorkshire lad would find it very difficult to join their arch enemies, even if David Byas has made the switch before.
Wherever Bresnan does end up plying his trade in the coming seasons, they will have got a gem of a player; a player who was once England’s lucky charm, winning the first thirteen test matches he was involved in; a T20 world cup and double Ashes series winner and; a player who comes with bags of experience and passion for the game, both of which are bound to rub off on others and benefit all around him and the club.
Regardless, it will be strange to see Tim Bresnan playing without the white rose on his chest, but I am sure his heart will remain firmly on his sleeve.