Steve Patterson believes there aren’t many teams in world sport who would be able to cope as well as Yorkshire have with losing a raft of international stars.
The Vikings have made it through to the semi-finals of the Royal London one-day Cup, beating Essex at Chelmsford on Thursday without six players on either England ODI or India Test Match duty.
And they will have to do it again for Monday’s semi against Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl, although Che Pujara is set to return for the match after India beat Afghanistan inside two days in the Bangalore Test.
Patterson admits it is a frustration that the White Rose have failed to reach a Lord’s final since 2002 when they beat Somerset in the Cheltenham and Gloucester Trophy. He was on the club’s Academy back then and watched from the stands.
But he has also pointed to the regular loss of their internationals as a major contributing factor.
“It is frustrating,” said Yorkshire’s new full-time captain. “I think we’ve been a better team down the years than our results and achievements have shown in one-day cricket. But every year, for as long as I can remember, we have reached the quarter-finals and semis. We are doing a lot of things right.
“But it’s very difficult. You ask any team in any sport around the world what they’d think about losing six internationals a few days before a quarter-final.
“It’s a huge ask, but it’s testament to the lads and their attitude to go and beat a strong Essex side.
“We are the strongest county on paper, but when you lose half your team to England, it’s a hell of an ask.
“Look at the England team. Half of them are Yorkshire lads. And then we’ve got Pujara over playing in India.
“Essex lost Ryan ten Doeschate, their captain. It was a huge loss. But try doing that five or six times over!
“When you listen to people’s expectations of ‘Why haven’t we won a comp?’, you have to take stuff like that into account.
“Yes, we might not have won anything for a few years in white ball cricket, but we’ve provided half the England team and they’re number one in the world.”
Patterson admits the loss of Jonny Bairstow, who in fairness hasn’t played in the RL50 this summer, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, David Willey and Pujara – who may all be available for the June 30 final – left the dressing room feeling a bit down in the dumps ahead of Essex. But not for long. And there certainly won’t be any of that ahead of Monday.
“There was a little bit of that because you always want your best players available,” he said. “But we can’t control it, so we have to crack on. The attitude the lads have shown has been absolutely top drawer.
“We go to Hampshire full of confidence with nothing to lose knowing we can beat them. And if we play the cricket we’re capable of, we will.
“They’re going to be tough to beat. But they’ve just come off the back of a big defeat in Championship cricket (by an innings against Surrey last week). I know it’s a different form, but it can sometimes get you a bit down. Whereas we’re on the back of five wins. It’s going to give you the confidence.”
Hampshire finished top of the South with five wins from eight matches, two defeats and a rain off. They will have South African fast bowler Dale Steyn available as their overseas player.