In 2021, Yorkshire will be hoping to kick on from last season’s disappointments in both the Bob Willis Trophy and Vitality Blast. Positives should be taken from an unbeaten red ball North Group campaign, even if it was not enough to see the White Rose head to Lord’s for the inaugural Bob Willis Trophy final.
On the other hand, the sooner the 2020 Vitality Blast is forgotten the better for the Vikings. They finished second bottom in the North Group, after managing only three victories.
Despite this, Yorkshire should look ahead to the new season with hope. Mark Arthur, chief executive, believes this is the strongest squad in his time at Headingley.
The signing of Dom Bess from Somerset adds more depth to the side’s red-ball options. The shrewd acquisition of New Zealand international Lockie Feguson for the Blast could be considered the coup of the season, and Joe Root’s availability for the start of the County Championship should provide a much needed positive start to the campaign.
The loss of Dawid Malan, top run scorer in last season’s BWT, to the Indian Premier League will be felt, but the return of Gary Ballance – alongside promising young batsmen Harry Brook and Tom Loten – means that loss will not be season-defining. Both young players have secured their futures at Headingley beyond the end of this season, showing the club’s belief in their ability.
Experienced players such as David Willey and Adam Lyth will also have a key role to play, with both players hoping their performances can regain the attention of the England selectors. Moreover, Jordan Thompson and Ben Coad will be looking to carry on their form with the ball from 2020.
Steve Patterson undoubtedly has one of the strongest squads at his disposal, and will be hoping that their quality with both bat and ball can lead Yorkshire to their first piece of silverware since 2015.
Ins: Dom Bess (Somerset)
Outs: Jared Warner (Gloucestershire), Ed Barnes (Leicestershire), James Logan (released)
Looking to bounce back from a poor red-ball season in 2020, Tom Kohler-Cadmore will hope to rediscover the form that made him Yorkshire’s top run-scorer across all formats in 2019. His expected importance in the Blast was shown, with recent scores of 53 and 46 in the recently postponed Pakistan Super League. Both performances were imperative to successful chases.
The former Wisden Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year undoubtedly has the quality in all three formats to play a key role in a Yorkshire squad, in which he believes there is a ‘Championship winning side.’
Player to Watch
The stock of Jonny Tattersall continues to rise, with a recent contract extension showing Yorkshire’s desire to keep hold of their first choice wicketkeeper. Having once been released by the club, Tattersall now provides useful middle-order runs, with a healthy average of 44.16 in five BWT matches in 2020. The wicketkeeper will be looking to once again demonstrate his skill with the gloves, as well as end his wait for a maiden first-class century.
The acquisition of Lockie Ferguson, a New Zealand international bowler, for the Vitality Blast greatly increases the Vikings’ chances of a maiden T20 title. The seamer is full of pace, and has more than proven himself on English soil, finishing as the second-highest wicket taker in the 2019 ODI World Cup. The New Zealander’s exploits also earned him a place in the ICC Team of the Tournament. He had an equally fruitful 2021 winter with the Black Caps, taking ten wickets at 9.4 in five T20 internationals. He was Player of the Series against the West Indies, taking a career best 5/21 in the first T20I. He will join Yorkshire following his fourth IPL season.
Yorkshire have also retained their pair of South African bowlers, Duanne Oliver and Mathew Pillans. Oliver, who played ten Tests and two ODIs for the Proteas before leaving for Yorkshire on a Kolpak deal, has now signed a new deal until the end of the 2022 season.
How will they fare?
The quality of the squad, alongside openly admitted high expectations from both the hierarchy and fans alike, mean that the 2021 season will go down as a failure unless silverware is lifted at the end of it. Their best chance comes in the reformed County Championship, with this year’s squad more than matching in quality to the favourites, Essex and Somerset. On paper, the batsmen should score big, and the bowlers should take 20 wickets. The White Rose should at least qualify for Division One of the County Championship, and reach the knockouts of both white-ball competitions.
Yorkshire vs Glamorgan, LV= Insurance County Championship, 8-11 April, Emerald Headingley, Leeds.
Season Odds (SkyBet):
LV= Insurance County Championship: 7/1
Royal London One-Day Cup: 9/1
Vitality Twenty20 Blast: 10/1