George Hill is looking to rewind the clock back to 2022 as he bids to kick his batting game on this summer and contribute heavily to a title-winning campaign.

All-rounder Hill has made no secret of his frustrations around his returns from the middle order during last season’s Vitality County Championship campaign when he scored 694 runs from 13 matches with seven fifties and one hundred.  

He touched on it whilst talking about his spell of club cricket in New Zealand at the start of the year and expanded further today as day two of Yorkshire’s pre-season friendly against Leeds/Bradford MCC Universities was abandoned without a ball bowled due to a wet outfield at Headingley. 

“It wasn’t a bad year by any stretch of the imagination, just frustrating with the starts I got,” reflected the 23-year-old ex-England Under 19s man. 

“Last year, I had quite a lot of starts but only one hundred, which is the main work-on for me.

“When I do get to 100, it’s just trying to make it into big hundreds as well – – when I’m in, being really greedy.

“I did that a bit a couple of years ago. I need to find that again, and hopefully I can kick on and have a good year.

Picture by Allan McKenzie/ George Hill pulls against Worcestershire at Headingley last season.

“It’s about having bigger impacts on games rather than getting sort of nice-looking 50s and 60s, kicking on to make hundreds and hopefully big hundreds as well.”

Keighley-born Hill has three Championship career centuries to his name, most recently 101 in last season’s home draw against Gloucestershire at Headingley. 

His first two came in 2022, posting 151 not out in an away draw against Northamptonshire and 131 in an away defeat against Hampshire. 

Both of those scores came whilst batting in the top three – the first at number three and the second as an opener. Last season, he dropped down a couple of places to bat at five and six.

He will take on the same middle order role this summer, and is feeling confident after spending the second half of his winter playing club cricket in Christchurch for the Weedons club, albeit mainly T20 cricket.

“I’ve had a better pre-season than last year,” he smiled, speaking on the back of a first day 82 not out against Leeds/Bradford yesterday. 

“I think I’d scored about five runs this time last year, so it’s an improvement on that! 

George Hill

Picture by Allan McKenzie/ George Hill bats against Derbyshire at Scarborough last season.

“I feel quite good to be fair. I feel like I know my game a bit more this year and am a lot more comfortable, a lot more confident.”

Reasoning why he thinks he was unable to make the most of his starts last year, Hill said: “I think it’s a mental thing. 

“Looking back, I’ve not really been got out, if that makes sense. I’ve got myself out by playing pretty average shots. 

“It’s just trying to almost reset when I get to 50, that kind of stuff – basic kind of stuff. 

“I’ve spoken to Ali (Maiden, Yorkshire’s assistant coach) this winter about being really greedy and really hungry.”

As aforementioned, a wet outfield today denied Hill the opportunity to post his first hundred of the summer, making a good start to the target he has set himself. Play was abandoned just after midday. Yorkshire had closed day one on a commanding 294-5.

“I was thinking last night,” he continued. “I tried to get on with it a little bit, but it was just nice to spend some time in the middle. 

Picture by Allan McKenzie/ Aiming for more of the same in 2024. George Hill celebrates his century against Gloucestershire at Headingley last summer. 

“I spent some time in the middle in Abu Dhabi, but it was completely different conditions there. It doesn’t move as much. 

“I went out to bat yesterday, and it was quite dark and nipping around. They bowled well for that first period that me and Wharts were batting. It was quite tricky.”

It would be a surprise to see Hill given the chance to add to his 82 on day three tomorrow. 

Firstly, because more overnight rain is forecast, and secondly if play were to take place, Yorkshire would almost certainly use whatever time available to have a bowl. 

“It rained so much last night,” said Hill. “It was already still wet yesterday, and I was surprised we played. 

“Robbo (Richard Robinson, Yorkshire’s head of grounds) and his team did unbelievably well to get us out there yesterday.”

Hill’s batting is just one string to his bow. 

George Hill

Picture by John Heald. George Hill celebrates a wicket against Leicestershire at Grace Road last season.

Here is a cricketer who can do it all, with his seam bowling an extremely useful asset to have and him also being a very good slip catcher. He claimed 19 wickets and 11 catches in Championship cricket last summer.

“I feel quite good (with the ball),” he said. “New Zealand was good. To get outside on grass a little bit before the season starts was good. 

“Hopefully I can be more consistent than I was last year. I felt my bowling could have been a bit better last year, but I’ve worked on a few things and hopefully it will put me in better stead.”

And looking ahead to the summer from a team point of view, Hill added: “Our aim is definitely not just to get promoted, but to win the title. 

“That’s our main aim in red-ball this year.

“There’s a really good atmosphere in the changing room. 

“Obviously the last few years have been pretty tough. Hopefully that is completely behind us now, and we can just concentrate on the cricket. 

“I’m looking forward to it, it should be a good year.”

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