It may seem only a season or so since Ben Coad broke into Yorkshire’s first team but the 25-year-old is already keenly aware of his responsibility to bring on the county’s next generation of quicker bowlers.
The departures of Ryan Sidebottom, Jack Brooks and Liam Plunkett have left Coad as almost a senior player at Headingley and head coach Andrew Gale has reminded him that his job description extends to helping seamers like Matthew Waite and Jordan Thompson adjust to top-level county cricket.
“Galey has spoken about my passing on what I’ve learned to the new lads just like Ryan and Jack did for me,” he said. “It’s just as important for me to be at mid-on or mid-off to help them if they’re struggling in their first couple of matches. But they have a game-plan, they know what they’re doing and that’s why they’ve been brought into the side.”
That idea of passing on wisdom and tradition is enormously important in Yorkshire cricket. The county’s supporters insist it has helped the side win their 32 outright titles and Harrogate-born Coad, who has yet to appear in a Championship-winning team, is keen to help his team mates clinch No.33.
“The Championship and winning trophies is always something you strive for but we said at the start of the season that it might be a bit of a push to win the title,” he said. “It still might be a little bit far off but we’re going to keep winning where we can and drawing games that are hard to win. And if we can just keep churning out performances, we won’t be far off.”
In order to win the title, though, Yorkshire must chase down Somerset, one of three counties who have never won what is still the most prestigious trophy in English cricket, and Coad believes his side’s two matches against the leaders in July and September will be vital in determining the outcome of what already looks a terrific battle in Division One, albeit one which involves more than two sides.
“Somerset have a very good side which they have been building for a few years,” he said. “But as long as we can stay in touch and then beat them in the games between the sides, it flips things around. It’s still very early in the season and we’ll see where we are after this block of four-day stuff.”
Coad’s skills had earned him 22 wickets, more than any other Yorkshire bowler, going into the latest round of the “four-day stuff”, including nine in a remarkable victory against Kent at Canterbury.
But he believes there is more to come. “I didn’t start quite as I wanted but that’s kind of a good thing because it’s allowed me to build up as I’ve gone along,” he said. “We’ve played some good cricket and I’m really happy with the way it’s going for me.”
And next week there will be a return to familiar pastures for Coad when he plays against Warwickshire in the first Championship match at York for 129 years and the first played on the Clifton Park ground.
“I played a year of league cricket at York but Yorkshire have played quite a lot of second team matches there, so most of the lads know what it’s like,” he said. “I think it’ll be a really good change to play there. The crowds are closer to the pitch and it’ll be good for the people at York. Hopefully, we can put in a performance for them.”
PAUL EDWARDS / Photo: Getty Images