Jack Brooks says he would be surprised to see Yorkshire repeat their LV= County Championship slip-up against Durham at Scarborough recently as the 2013 season heads into its last three weeks.
The White Rose fast bowler has no doubt the belief is still there to go on and make this a golden year for the county ahead of Wednesday’s trip to face Sussex at Hove, the only other side to have beaten Yorkshire this season.
“We’ve got a strong group of players who will take the field against Sussex, and I’d be very surprised if we’re turned over again in our last three games like we were last week,” said Brooks. “This team’s too good for that to happen regularly.
“Whenever you do lose, it helps you to refocus and keeps you grounded. You know you can’t take your foot off the gas. I’m hoping we’ll bounce back this week.
“We’re still confident because we’re playing good cricket. It was a blip last week.
“Alex Lees missed out last week, and he’s scored 250 recently and played for the England Lions. You’ve got him, Joe Root and Tim Bresnan not playing. It shows how strong this Yorkshire squad is. I saw Rooty at Abbeydale last Monday and said ‘you wouldn’t get in our team at the minute’. He laughed and agreed!”
Yorkshire go into this week 14.5 points behind leaders Durham, who travel to Derby to face Derbyshire. They also have three matches remaining.
There is no hiding from the fact that the title race is out of Yorkshire’s hands. But that does not bother Brooks, aged 29.
“To be in this position with three games to go, we’d have bitten your hand off at the start of the season, definitely,” he continued. “I don’t think there’s any panic in the group. There wasn’t even when we were in a bad position in the Durham game. It was just one of those games where nothing really went our way with the bat, the ball or in the field.
“It’s been a long time since that happened – the first game against Sussex. We went on such a good run from then on. We’ll just go back to basics and back the team.”
Sussex beat Yorkshire by an innings and 12 runs in the first match of the season. Yorkshire were even bowled out for 96 in their first innings. But a heck of a lot has changed since then.
While Yorkshire are still in the title race, fourth-placed Sussex aren’t. They are 40.5 points behind Durham with only two matches remaining. They have lost two of their last three matches.
And Brooks added: “That (Sussex) defeat maybe helped to focus us, and it might have been the best thing that happened to us.
“Coming into Division One our batting was supposed to be our weakness. We got rolled over for 90-odd, but we recovered to get some big scores and beat some strong teams. We haven’t really thought about it because we have been so good since and hadn’t looked like losing until Durham.”
England Test wicketkeeper Matt Prior has been cleared to finish the season in the Championship.