Jordan Thompson has spoken of the importance of a fast start to this summer’s County Championship campaign.

The all-rounder is confident Yorkshire are well set up for a promotion push in Division Two, even a title push – “Absolutely,” he said – but insists they can’t afford to be slow out of the blocks when the season start early next month. 

Yorkshire begin their campaign against Leicestershire at Headingley, starting on Friday April 5. It is one of seven games in eight weeks before a break for the beginning of the Vitality Blast campaign at the back end of May. 

“It’s important we get off to a flyer because these seven games in eight weeks are potentially going to write the table,” said the 27-year-old. 

“Look at the table at the end of May and it might be near enough done at that stage.”

Thompson and his Yorkshire team-mates are currently in Abu Dhabi on their pre-season tour. After a weekend of T20 action saw them win one of their three games and finish fourth out of six teams in the Abu Dhabi Counties Super Cup, they turn their attentions to red ball practice ahead of returning home on Friday morning.

Jordan Thompson

Picture by Ian Roman/Abu Dhabi Cricket and Sports hub. Jordan Thompson during this weekend’s T20 competition in Abu Dhabi.

Yorkshire play Warwickshire in a two-day game on Wednesday and Thursday, scheduled to start at 6am UK.

Thompson continued: “You look at last year, there were bumps in the road, the points deductions and the weather. Hopefully we don’t lose that many overs this year.

“Take away all that stuff and you’re probably looking at us being promoted last year.

“We have to take that confidence into this season.

“It looks like we might be quite strong up front, and it’s important we take advantage of that availability. 

“But we can’t just rely on the likes of Rooty coming back and Shan being available, we have to stand up and be counted right from numbers one to 11.”

Ottis Gibson

Picture by Ian Roman/Abu Dhabi Cricket and Sports hub. Ottis Gibson at training in Abu Dhabi.

Given the weight of early season four-day fixtures, rest and rotation is going to be a key ingredient to success, believes Thompson.

Injuries and availability have bitten at stages for a number of Yorkshire’s bowlers, making that more of a challenge to manage for coach Ottis Gibson.

There have been stages in the last two years, particularly 2022, when he was struggling to give Thompson a rest because of a lack of options. In the last two seasons, Thompson has played 25 Championship matches. 

Thompson’s fellow all-rounder George Hill is the only other seam bowling option in the squad who has played more in that same period.

Fingers crossed, people stay fit and Gibson is able to rest and rotate his bowlers more regularly this summer. 

“Last year, we had the options, but we had some injury issues. That meant I played the majority of the games,” continued Thompson. 

Mickey Edwards

Picture by Ian Roman/Abu Dhabi Cricket and Sports hub. Big quick Mickey Edwards missed the second half of last season through injury but is fit heading into 2024.

“I don’t mind that, it’s my job to play cricket and playing a lot doesn’t bother me at all.

“But Gibbo spoke about it, it will take its toll on performance at some point because lads playing week after week, back-to-back, is tough no matter how fit you are.

“Rotation is going to be important for us.

“It might be tricky if we get on an early-season run and you’re touted for a rest.

“I love playing cricket, and I want to be out there playing and affecting what’s going on.

“I find it tough to sit on the sidelines because I’d rather be out there giving it my all. If I lose on the field, fair enough. But if I lose sat in the stand, it’s hard to take.

Ben Coad

Picture by Ian Roman/Abu Dhabi Cricket and Sports hub. Ben Coad could play a key role in a four-day title bid.

“Having said that, it will happen for myself and other lads, and it has to happen. It’s important that we realise that and take it for what it is.”

In his preview for the tour, published at the start of March, Gibson touched on that very subject, saying: “I don’t think we’ll play the same bowling line-up in back-to-back matches, especially if everyone is fit and raring to go. That’s been explained to the lads already.”

Meanwhile, Thompson has backed captain Masood to have a greater influence on Yorkshire’s campaign than he did last season, the Pakistani batter scoring 720 four-day runs in seven matches at an average of 60. That haul included two centuries.

The left-hander will return to Headingley for his second season as overseas, and he is expected to be available for the opener against Leicestershire.

“Shan did really well last year,” added Thompson. 

“He’s a calming effect on that dressing room. 

Shan Masood

Picture by Allan McKenzie/ Yorkshire captain Shan Masood.

“There are a few boys, like myself, who are very passionate about what’s going on. 

“To have someone like Shan who has a calm head, sits back and goes, ‘Right, this is what we’re doing’ is good for us.

“Shan’s a class player. He’s settled in with the lads now and knows how we work. That makes it easier for him to go about his own work. He did well last year with the bat, but hopefully this year he can go and double his tally.”

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