Dan Hodgson’s patience is set to be rewarded with another crack at 40-over cricket tomorrow when Middlesex visit Headingley.
The Yorkshire wicketkeeper batsman made an excellent return to first-team colours on Sunday with an eye-catching 76 off 55 balls in a shortened match against pace setters Gloucestershire Gladiators at Bristol.
“I was delighted to get a score in my first game for the ones this season, it was a good start,” he said having not played since last October. “Hopefully I get another game.”
Hodgson has had an interesting year having made his first XI debut last August during the latter stages of the Yorkshire Bank 40 (then the Clydesdale Bank 40) before being handed the gloves for the White Rose’s Champions League t20 campaign in South Africa last October, where he impressed.
He scored a crucial 18 off 21 balls in a qualifying win over UVA Next at Johannesburg. Remember, he came in at a crucial point in the run chase after David Miller retired hurt after being hit in the face by an Umar Gul bouncer.
The now 23-year-old also helped to run out Sachin Tendulkar in a group match against the Mumbai Indians at Cape Town.
He then flew straight from South Africa to Zimbabwe to spend his winter playing first-class cricket for the Mountaineers team, for whom he often opened the batting.
And since the start of the English summer he has excelled in second XI cricket for the White Rose by topping 600 runs in 14 matches in all forms batting in the top three for the majority, including two hundreds.
As the 76 off 55 suggests, he hit the ball hard at Bristol to really stake a claim for more first-team cricket in the weeks ahead.
But he credits his improvement in his game to his Champions League experience in South Africa and then his winter in neighbouring Zimbabwe.
“It was unexpected for me to go out and play at the Champions League, but it was a great bonus. I loved every minute of it,” he continued. “I was a bit nervous leaving the lads in South Africa and going over to Zimbabwe, but it turned out to be a great move for me.
“Jason Gillespie put me in touch with Gary Brent, the Mountaineers coach, and they looked after me well. It’s a great place, and I really enjoyed it.
“When I started speaking to Gary, he said they needed an opening batsman and asked me whether I’d like to do it. I said ‘for sure’. Batting at the top of the order against the new ball, it puts you in a good position to bat in any spot if you do well.
“Opening the batting helped me develop my game. It also helped me to understand my game. There wasn’t a batting coach as such, so I had to think for myself a bit more and work out what my options are.”
Yorkshire are still searching for only their second 40-over win this season.
They were beaten by Middlesex at Radlett last month, and they have since opted to blood youth with no chance of progressing to the knockout stages. That will be the case again tomorrow, with 15-year-old seamer Matthew Fisher in line for his second outing.
Hodgson is obviously keen for the Vikings to pick up the two points.
He added: “A win would be nice, which we could do with really. If one of the young lads can put in a match-winning performance, it gives us a lot more belief. Middlesex are a good side, and it will be a tough game. But hopefully we can turn them over.”
Middlesex are desperate for a win as their hopes are flagging. They have only won three of their six matches and with seven points are four behind leading duo Somerset and Gloucester in Group C.