George Hill says he has been working on increasing his scoring options this winter, something which the fledgling opener showcased with significant success on day one of Yorkshire’s friendly at Durham today.
Hill contributed 46 off 78 balls to the county’s close of play 221-6, sharing 83 with opening partner Adam Lyth and hitting 10 boundaries.
The 21-year-old posted two fifties whilst opening during the second half of last season’s LV= Insurance County Championship campaign.
Whilst impressing, he knew there were things he needed to work on in order to progress in 2022.
“I’ve worked hard on a couple of things over the winter, and it’s nice they’ve worked in a game. I’m really happy with how I’ve started,” he said, having also scored a century in last week’s intra-squad game at Bradford Park Avenue.
“I felt quite good today, like I did in Dubai and at Bradford the other day.
“I definitely feel a lot more confident than I did last year.
“I would still say I’m not too familiar with the role, but it’s something I’m enjoying.
“I felt last year that I was solid enough, but I could be tied down quite easily – my scoring options were sort of limited. So I’ve done a bit of work to get my hands a bit higher and have a clearer bat path.
“I’m still keeping it simple and not really moving too much. For me, I’m playing my best when it’s a natural rhythm and I can transfer forwards and backwards quite comfortably.
“I’ve said it before, ‘I’m not that bothered where I bat as long as I’m in the team’. Wherever Gibbo (Ottis Gibson) puts me, I’ll try my best to perform.
“But I enjoy batting with Lythy, he’s really good to bat with. Obviously he’s been around for a while, and he’s always looking to be positive.
“He’s looking really good as well. He shaped up well in Dubai and the intra-squad game and has carried it on today.”
Without recalling his scores, Hill says he also retired a couple of times during the two-day games against Gloucestershire in Dubai earlier this month.
“Time in the middle is the most important thing at this time of year,” he said.
While he is the man in possession of the opener’s berth ahead of the summer, the former England Under 19s all-rounder is keen to remain versatile.
“If Gibbo gave me the choice, it would be to open now,” he continued. “But I feel like I could bat in most positions one to six. I want to keep that open mind and not just see myself as an opener.”
Should Hill retain his place for the Championship opener against Gloucestershire at Bristol on April 14, he will do so with excellent memories of the said venue.
In the opening second-team game of the last summer, he scored a double century there.
“It will be a very different attack and wicket this time,” he rightly pointed out.
“I think they’ve got Naseem Shah as their overseas player, and he is quite sharp. I think he’d be the quickest bowler I’ve faced so far. That would be a good challenge.”
Hill is now one of a number of options at the top of the order available to new coach Gibson, including the likes of Will Fraine, Tom Kohler-Cadmore and James Wharton, the latter who Hill shares a Headingley flat with alongside seamer Dom Leech.
“There is a lot of competition, but it’s healthy,” he added.
“We’re all pushing each other to get better. That can only be a good thing.”