Yorkshire face the toughest test on this summer’s county calendar this week when they travel around Spaghetti Junction to face reigning champions Warwickshire at Edgbaston, starting tomorrow.
But coach Jason Gillespie is confident his players can tie the Bears in knots having bounced back expertly from an opening week setback against Sussex last month.
The White Rose county are now well placed inside the Division One’s top three following two wins and a draw from the last three matches, a marked improvement in their position on the back of an innings defeat against the Martlets.
Former Australia fast bowler Gillespie even believes Yorkshire were written off after that loss.
“I think we’re in a good place, there’s no doubt about that, especially after everyone was writing us off after the first game of the season,” said Dizzy.
“We just spoke about having that belief in our ability and going out there with a positive mind and good body language.
“We always talk about if someone just walks into the ground and can’t see the scoreboard, we want them to assume that we’re on top. That’s important. Even if we haven’t taken a wicket all session, we still want that person to assume that we’re on top.
“That’s the attitude we want to get across to the opposition. Even if we’re not quite at our best, we’re going to be positive in everything that we do. That’s something we really strive to do.”
There have been moments of difficulty during the last three matches against Durham, Derbyshire and, most recently, Somerset – a match in which they arguably played their best cricket of the three across the four days.
Warwickshire have played five fixtures this summer, one more than Yorkshire. They have won one and drawn four, and are two points behind their visitors.
Both Gillespie and opposite number Dougie Brown will be making changes to their sides for this week’s clash.
England quintet Jonny Bairstow, Tim Bresnan, Ian Bell, Joe Root and Jonathan Trott are all unavailable, but could feasibly come back into the match during Thursday’s second day should any of them be left out of the team for the first Test against New Zealand at Lord’s.
Ryan Sidebottom and Liam Plunkett come back into contention after rest and illness respectively, while White Rose fast bowler Jack Brooks is out for six weeks with a broken left thumb.
Warwickshire can call upon Lions trio Varun Chopra, Chris Woakes and Chris Wright after they missed their last match against Middlesex.
“They’ll welcome back a couple of their big players in Woakes and Wright, we know that. They’re two fantastic bowlers. Woakes as an all-rounder – he’s a fantastic player. They’ll have Chopra back as well, so they’ll be back to near full strength,” added Gillespie.
“They’re the county champions, so we’ll respect that. They’re a really good side. But we’ll go there to play positive attacking cricket and try to win the game.”
Yorkshire’s last trip to Edgbaston finished in a draw in the latter stages of 2011 when they were desperately trying to avoid relegation.
Although they did not manage to claim the win, it was a memorable match for left-handed batsman Gary Ballance, who scored the first of four centuries for the county in first-class cricket – three have been in the Championship.
Ballance scored 111 off 159 balls, and he recalled: “I remember it was during the last few games of the season. We had to win that game to give ourselves any chance of staying up.
“I came in, and we were four down with a small lead. I had to score quite quickly. I was 92 overnight, so I was a bit nervous. I came out the next day, played and missed at a few, but managed to get one in the slot and get it away for four to get to a hundred.
“I did have a few fifties beforehand, but a lot of them were not outs in games when I needed to bat for time rather than runs. At that time, it was a great feeling because I knew I could kick on from there.
“My career started a bit later than some other people. I was 21, 22 and had a lot of time in the second team. But it has gone quite well from there for me, and hopefully I can keep it going up in the right direction.”