George Hill wants Yorkshire to start 2024 with the same gusto they finished last summer.

The former England Under 19s all-rounder says the depth of the county’s squad has left him filled with belief that County Championship promotion can be achieved this summer.

And Hill is not just targeting promotion from Division Two. 

“We should definitely be looking to get promotion and to win the title as well,” said the 23-year-old.

“The last four games in September, when some of the younger lads were given a go – listen to me, I’m sounding like an old seasoned pro! – I thought we did really well.

“When we sort of knew that we were getting the points deducted, that’s when I felt like we started to play some really good cricket. There was a real freedom about our play. 

George Hill

Picture by John Heald. George Hill celebrates a wicket during last September’s rainy draw at Leicestershire.

“We won two (Derbyshire and Worcestershire at home) and drew two (Glamorgan and Leicestershire away), and we could have won the other two with a bit of luck here and there.

“We played really positively – we always looked to take wickets and put teams on the back foot when we batted.

“If we can start the way we finished last season, then that will stand us in good stead. 

“There are plenty of lads who built confidence last year; Cliffy got a debut, Wharts did well, and Leachy is chomping at the bit as well. We have a really good squad, and I’m confident we will go up.”

Hill will arrive back home later this week following a two-month spell of club cricket in New Zealand. This time next week, he will be back on a plane with his Yorkshire team-mates as they embark on their 10-day pre-season tour of Abu Dhabi.

He has largely been playing T20 cricket for the Christchurch club Weedons  since January.

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com. George Hill acknowledges the Headingley faithful after hitting a century against Gloucestershire last summer.

Yorkshire will play in a three-day T20 tournament in Abu Dhabi, alongside county rivals Essex, Somerset and Warwickshire.

They will then turn their attentions to red ball cricket and a two-day fixture against Warwickshire.

Hill is hoping to build on a 2023 Championship campaign which saw him contribute 694 runs from 13 matches in the middle order, 19 wickets with his seamers and 11 catches, the majority of which came in the slips. 

“It was probably a little bit frustrating, really,” he said, specifically of his returns with the bat in last season’s Championship. 

“I got quite a lot of starts – I think I had seven fifties in the red ball stuff. To not have more than one hundred was disappointing. I got out in the seventies three times.

“It was a real contrast to the year before when I got no fifties and two hundreds. 

Dan Moriarty

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com. Yorkshire fans will be hoping to see plenty of this celebration between new signing Dan Moriarty (l) and George Hill this summer.

“But I do feel a lot more comfortable in the middle order, and I’m growing in confidence.

“It’s obviously very different to opening the batting given the scenarios you can face. You can come in at 20-3 or you can come in at 220-3.

Learning on the job with that was good fun, and hopefully I can build on that if I’m in the team at the start of the season.”

Hill spent much of the 2022 batting in the top order, including opening the batting. 

Last season, however, he slotted into the middle order at number five. 

“I did enjoy it,” he said. “It potentially helps with my game against spin, coming in later when they’re on. 

George Hill

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com. George Hill en-route to 600 plus Championship runs in 2023.

“It also gives you the opportunity to free up a bit.

“Beany and Lythy often got us off to a strong start and got us into a good position. So as long as you can go out there and survive your first 15-20 balls, you can often take advantage of an opposition side who has maybe been chasing leather all afternoon. 

“It’s an easier time to bat rather than facing a fully charged up attack with a brand new ball.”

Hill has now played two-and-a-half seasons of Championship cricket for Yorkshire, coming into the side regularly midway through the 2021 campaign.

Despite his tender years, it feels like he is a senior head in Shan Masood’s side, something which he joked about earlier.

“I’ve been lucky enough to play the last two years, and I definitely feel like I belong now at this level,” he said. “I’m feeling more confident in the changing room and in voicing my opinion out on the pitch. 

George Hill

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com. George Hill is congratulated by Shan Masood, Dom Bess and Fin Bean after dismissing Derbyshire’s Wayne Madsen at Scarborough during last September’s victory.

“Being stood next to Tatts or Dukey behind the stumps and old man Lythy at second slip, it’s great to have conversations with them about planning and that sort of stuff. Hopefully that carries on this year.”

And he is keen to contribute in any which way he can to Yorkshire success in 2024.

“My ultimate aim is to win games of cricket for Yorkshire, and the more chances I have to do that the better,” he added. 

“I really enjoy my batting but also my bowling too. And credit to Shan last year, he gave me extra responsibility with the ball. He has faith in me with the ball, which is great.

“Even with the slip catching. Last year was my first season in the cordon, and once you take your first catch those nerves go away and you can settle in.

“Doing well with one certainly helps the other, 100 percent.”

George Hill

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com. George Hill on slip catching duty at Scarborough last September. 

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