Ottis Gibson believes potential England opportunities are part of the reason why batting performances have been so impressive at the start of the new domestic season.
Yorkshire’s coach has been speaking about the increase in standout batting displays across county cricket at the start of 2022, including from his own players such as Harry Brook and George Hill.
In 2021, across the whole of the LV= Insurance County Championship, there were 146 centuries scored.
This summer, in only three rounds of action, there has already been more than a third of that total, with 53 centuries recorded.
Brook (101) and Hill (151 not out) have posted two of those, against Gloucestershire and Northamptonshire.
Both of those aforementioned totals include double centuries, of which there have already been six posted this season.
Of course, not all of those are from the blade of English players. Derbyshire’s Shan Masood has two to his name and Sussex’s Cheteshwar Pujara has one.
However, early in a summer which is played out against the back drop of England uncertainty and batting problems, young international hopefuls such as Brook, Lancashire’s Josh Bohannon and Sussex’s Tom Haines have all shone.
Gibson said: “If you are a batter in England at the moment, the way things have been for the last 12-18 months, you should sense an opportunity.
“Whichever batter gets off to a really good start this summer could find themselves in one of those top three or four batting spots (in the Test team).
“Brooky’s putting his hand up, others around the country are.
“I can only imagine that’s a good thing for England going forwards.”
Another reason for the increase in runs, however, is obviously better conditions, says Gibson, with the sun shining and hardly any rain since the start of April.
He continued: “We’ve played two games and the ball has not swung a lot.
“The pitch at Northampton, the ball nipped around a bit first innings and then it became very flat. Even then, it was so cold on the last day that the ball didn’t swing. That could have something to do with it.
“The pitch we played on in Bristol was a very good pitch, I thought. It still offered you assistance if you bent your back on the final day. And it definitely started to spin. At Northampton, it didn’t even spin.
“But there has been some good batting.
“James Bracey scored a very good hundred against us and Brooky scored a very good hundred.
“County cricket gets a battering all the time in the media, every time England lose an Ashes series away. But I’ve always felt there’s some very good batters around if the conditions are right.
“The good batters will always get runs.
“If there’s been a lot of hundreds scored already, it means that there have been some good conditions and the good players have got runs.”
It has been an encouraging start to 2022 with Gibson and co, with a win at Gloucestershire followed by a dominant draw at Northampton over the weekend. And the batting has been a big part of that.
There have been totals of 376, 406-3 declared and a convincing chase of a tricky 211 target so far.
The coach said: “We have a batting line-up of Lyth, Karunaratne, you’ve got Malan, Brook, who is in very good form, add Root to that in a couple of weeks, Kohler-Cadmore to come back.
“We don’t know what going on with Gary (Ballance) just yet. He’s out of the picture. But if we get some good news about him in the next week or two weeks or month or two months and he can play any part in the summer, then that gives us a very solid batting line-up. There is a lot to be excited about.”
So far, performances have been spread around, be it batters and bowlers or players old and young.
Gibson added: “We are trying to preach that it’s a squad effort. Winning the County Championship is not going to be a one man show.
“Every game someone is going to have an opportunity to do something great to help us to win.”
That next opportunity comes against Kent at Headingley, starting on Thursday.