Andrew Gale has set out the action plan to get overseas quick Duanne Olivier firing on all cylinders in 2022.
For the second year running, Olivier has had a disrupted season, with Gale describing the 29-year-old as a “victim of Covid”.
By that, the coach means his form and fitness has suffered through all the various knock-on complications which have come from the virus rather than actually being struck down by it himself.
This summer just gone was the last of the South African’s initial three-year contract at Emerald Headingley, but another year was added to cover 2022 at the start of the summer.
In 2021, Olivier played only eight competitive matches across all formats, taking 19 wickets. His final appearance of the campaign was the Royal London one-day Cup win over Warwickshire at York at the start of August.
Gale said: “Duanne had a back injury, so Notts (last week’s Championship game) was probably the first game he was available to us over the last two months.
“He came back, played in a 50-over game and broke down again. So we had to get him fit. But, because of Covid, we haven’t managed to get him as much second-team cricket as we’d like.
“We had two games in two weeks called off for Covid, so we had to keep the first-team squad away from the seconds. He hasn’t managed to play enough cricket to convince himself and us that he can do the job on the pitch.
“Last week was the first week he was available, and we just made a choice that we needed a bit more batting in Matthew Revis.”
When Yorkshire signed Olivier, initially on a Kolpak deal, ahead of 2019, he had taken 48 wickets in 10 Test Matches for South Africa, including 31 in five home Tests against Pakistan and Sri Lanka immediately before joining the White Rose.
And while Olivier has since taken 75 wickets in 25 first-class appearances for Yorkshire, he is yet to find that kind of Test Match form.
Gale, however, is confident he can still find it for the county.
“I do,” he said.
“Duanne’s been a victim of Covid. He came over for the shortened season last year with no preparation, but we threw him into the second game at Notts because Coad, Waite and Fisher all broke down (in or just before the first game at Durham).
“We had to throw him in, but he was massively undercooked.
“He then goes back to South Africa and the plan was for him to come back over in January and February, do some gym work and get strong, bowl and do a bit of work on his technique. But then they went on the red list. So we struggled to get him over.
“We got him over again a week before the season started, and his strength’s down, his speed’s down.
“What we want to do this winter is get him over in January and give him a real good block of training that he hasn’t had for three or four years, to get him to where he was when he first signed for us – bowling 90mph, that raw pace.
“I thought we’d really see the best of him this year because he’d been bowling that fuller length, not the South African length. And I thought he was going to reap the rewards of that.
“His first-class record is unbelievable (474 wickets at 23.53).
“He just hasn’t had the year he, or we, would have liked. But I’m confident Duanne will come back.”