Yorkshire’s new Head Coach Ottis Gibson will take charge for his first competitive fixture this week as the White Rose make their way to Bristol for the opening match of their 2022 LV Insurance County Championship campaign against Gloucestershire.
Fans of Gloucestershire may have been disappointed with last week’s draw against Northamptonshire, but despite a missed opportunity for a caught-and-bowled in the final over, they will be buoyed by the performance of talismanic all-rounder Ryan Higgins with both bat and ball. Higgins will be hoping something approaching a repeat of that performance if the hosts are to beat Yorkshire, and further support from the likes of James Bracey who made 117 in the first innings will be key to any chance of success. Gloucestershire have added further strength in the batting department in the form of Australian Ashes opener Marcus Harris who signs for Gloucestershire after his spell at Leicestershire and should make his debut this week.
If anything, it’s with the ball rather than the bat that Yorkshire look the strongest, their pre-season match against the Leeds-Bradford MCCU team (which included Middlesex’s Josh De Caires) saw Thompson, Leech, Patterson, Revis and Loten amongst the wickets. The attack should be further strengthened by Pakistani quick Haris Rauf, who has now landed in Leeds ahead of the 2022 campaign.
Yorkshire’s performance with the bat was, on more than one occasion, their downfall last season and if Gloucestershire can capitalise, they’ll put themselves in a good position. The doubts over the inclusion of Tom Kohler-Cadmore’s, who suffered a concussion over winter, will no doubt be a disappointment to Yorkshire fans, but Dawid Malan should be available after missing England’s tour of the West Indies earlier in the year.
Gloucestershire – It’ll come as no surprise that Ryan Higgins is the one to watch for the hosts this week. In the 2021 campaign there were only 7 men who took more wickets than Higgins, and Higgins has already made a higher score this season than any of those men have made in their first-class careers to date. He’s become almost indispensable to Gloucestershire since his move from Middlesex in 2018 and could be a real thorn in Yorkshire’s side this week.
Yorkshire – He was the key player in our 2022 Season Preview, and for all the same reasons it’s Jordan Thompson who is the player to watch for the Yorkshiremen in the opener. The end of 2021 into 2022 feels like something of a ‘Tommo coming-of-age’ to many fans of the White Rose. In the first match of the campaign he’ll be looking to continue his development with the red ball (and add the odd run or two, of course!).
Gloucestershire squad – Graeme van Buuren (c), James Bracey (wk), Ben Charlesworth, Ajeet Singh Dale, Zafar Gohar, Miles Hammond, Ryan Higgins, Marcus Harris, Tom Lace, Josh Shaw, Jack Taylor, Matt Taylor, Jared Warner
Yorkshire squad – Steven Patterson (c), Dom Bess, Harry Brook, Ben Coad, Harry Duke (wk), Matthew Fisher, Will Fraine, George Hill, Adam Lyth, Dawid Malan, Haris Rauf, Jordan Thompson, James Wharton.
Weather and Conditions
‘Scattered showers and fog’ says the forecast for the first two days of this encounter in Bristol, but the sun is set to make an appearance over the weekend which may make for an interesting conundrum at the toss. Having said that, it seems appropriate at this point to quote the great Gloucestershire man WG Grace: “When you win the toss – bat. If you are in doubt, think about it, then bat. If you have very big doubts, consult a colleague – then bat.”
Date: 14th-17th Apr 2022
Ground: Bristol County Ground
Odds (SkyBet): Gloucestershire 5/4, Yorkshire 4/7