George Hill is ready to meet the challenge of replacing Tom Kohler-Cadmore as Yorkshire’s new first slip fielder.
Hill will form part of a new-look slip cordon when the county begin their Division Two LV= Insurance County Championship campaign against Leicestershire tomorrow.
“They’re big shoes to fill because Tom used to eat balls at first slip, didn’t he,” smiled the all-rounder.
Now, flanking seasoned second slipper Adam Lyth is likely to be Hill, Fin Bean at third and Jordan Thompson at fourth when the likes of Ben Coad is getting the ball to talk, as he did against Leeds/Bradford MCC Universities at Headingley on Saturday.
It is no secret that Yorkshire were charitable in the field, especially the slips last season, with a number of uncharacteristic mistakes made.
But, ahead of this summer, assistant coach Ali Maiden said: “We look pretty confident in the slips now, and that’s what slip catching is – a confidence thing.
“Before we went to South Africa, we had a month where we got out on the artificial surface at Weetwood to try and get more volume into fielding. We did a lot of slip catching.
“Coming into this season, we’ve probably been catching for a month and half in the slips.
“Adam, for one, feels a lot more confident coming into this season having caught a lot more balls than he had done coming into last year.
“Everyone is dead keen to do it. That’s the crux of it.”
On his own new role, which supplements his top order batting and seam bowling, Hill said: “There’s a few of us who have been practicing hard over the winter, and we’ve got five or so lads who are quite good in there.
“At the start of last year, we had a decent cordon, but we seemed to catch a bug. And it cost us quite a lot when you reflect back on it.
“It was surprising really because we have some very good fielders.
“But we’ve definitely worked a lot on our fielding this winter – and not just in the slips.
“We have a young squad, so in terms of athleticism and chucking ourselves around, we’re right up there.
“I do enjoy fielding at first slip, but I also enjoy running around in the outfield.
“Hopefully, I can also get bowling a bit more so that I don’t feel like I’m sat in the armchair all day feeling like an old man.