Will Fraine wants a consistent run of games in the Vitality Blast to provide the springboard for more red ball appearances for Yorkshire.
The Huddersfield-born 24-year-old has found a home as the finisher in the Vikings middle order, and will hope to further prove why in tonight’s clash with 2018 champions Worcestershire Rapids at New Road (5.30pm).
Fraine’s job is – in an ideal world – to build on the earlier good work of the likes of Adam Lyth, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Harry Brook and Jonny Bairstow and Dawid Malan when they are available.
And he has done it with significant success, though ironically hardly contributed to last night’s win in which 240-4 was scored against Leicestershire at Emerald Headingley.
He finished with only two not out off three balls and was starved of the strikes as unbeaten Brook smashed 48 off 16 and dominated a late 51 stand.
Since the start of last season’s Blast, batting at five or six, Fraine has posted scores of 44 of 16 balls, 36 off 15, 24 off 15, 28 off 21 and 19 off eight.
The latter sealed last week’s opening night victory over Birmingham Bears at Emerald Headingley and has revealed: “I’ll be honest, it’s a role I didn’t know I could do until that first game against Derbyshire last year (44 not out).
“I’d never batted in that role before, and I didn’t know I could do that from ball one or two.
“I’ve always been an opening batter like Tom (Kohler-Cadmore). But I’ve taken to it pretty well.”
Coming in from ball one and trying to smash it is certainly a glitzy role, but one which Fraine says is not easy.
“It’s certainly a difficult thing to do if they get their yorkers in and nail their skills,” he said.
“There will be days when it goes very wrong and I’ll get none and others when things don’t go well for the team and I’ll have to play situations. It’s a learning curve.”
Since joining Yorkshire at the start of 2019, Fraine has played only 13 first-class games, scoring a century in that season’s County Championship over Surrey at Scarborough when he convincingly dealt with the threat of South African great Morne Morkel.
He has opened the batting as well as dropping down the order, but his second-team form this season has given a definite indication that he can certainly fulfil his aim.
He has scored 346 runs in four second-team Championship games at an average of 57.66, including a best of 186 against Gloucestershire at Bristol in April.
He said: “I’ve been in and out of the red ball team, and it’s tough not knowing when you’re playing. But I’ve had a good year in the second team. It’s an ongoing process for me.
“I’ve hopefully got a run of games coming up in T20, and my aim is certainly to be an all format player.”
Worcestershire have made an unbeaten start to this season’s Blast, winning two to build on an opening night tie against Nottinghamshire at New Road last Wednesday.
They have since beaten Northamptonshire away and Lancashire at home, the most recent on Sunday chasing only 133.
A real feature of the two games at New Road has been a slow pitch. Adil Rashid could certainly enjoy himself, and it would be no surprise to see Dom Bess drafted into the side to support him.
The Rapids have signed Australian fast bowler and Big Bash champion Ben Dwarshuis and New Zealand leg-spinner Ish Sodhi as their overseas players.
Moeen Ali will captain them before linking up with England’s T20 squad this weekend.
Gary Ballance has been added to the squad that took on Leicestershire Foxes at Emerald Headingley last night. The batsman has been in fine form for the 2nd XI in recent weeks scoring a hundred and a 50 in the T20 format.
14-man squad to take on Worcestershire Rapids
Jonny Bairstow (Wicketkeeper)
David Willey (Captain)
A look at the opposition – Worcestershire Rapids
Coach: Alex Gidman
Captain: Moeen Ali (stand-in captain when unavailable to be confirmed)
Last Year’s Performance: Bottom (Central Group)
2020 Leading Run Scorer: Hamish Rutherford (352, 39.11)
2020 Leading Wicket Taker: Ed Barnard (10, 26.00)
Overseas players: Ben Dwarshuis (Australia – whole tournament), Sandeep Lamichhane (Nepal – whole tournament)
Key man: Ben Dwarshuis – Leading wicket-taker for winners Sydney Sixers in the latest edition of the Big Bash and will add much needed variety to Rapids attack as a left-armer.
Flies under the radar: Ross Whiteley – By his standards had a couple of quiet T20 years but his big-hitting can destroy any attack and needs to impress in final year of current contract.
Best Player Under 24: Sandeep Lamichhane – Still only 20 but has plenty of experience from many T20 franchises and his leg spin will be unknown commodity in this country.
Blast expectations: The Rapids won the competition in 2018 and were runners-up in 2019 and there is a determination to ensure last season’s below-woeful performance was a mere blip. The absence of Moeen Al and Wayne Parnell plus an under-cooked Pat Brown, after being a non-playing member in the England bubble, meant their attack was weakened and their batsmen also failed to deliver.
The expected availability of Rapids captain Moeen for part of the tournament will be a massive boost in both skill sets and he is capable of taking any attack apart at the top of the order. Overseas signings Ben Dwarshuis and Sandeep Lamichane will add T20 experience and variety to an attack that was often cannon fodder last summer.
Expect Riki Wessels to rediscover his hitting skills as he looks to repeat his 2019 form when setting a new Rapids record for most Blast runs in a season – 461. It will be a disappointment if the Rapids do not at least qualify from their group for the knockout stages.
The Key Statistics
• Of the regular members of the Northern Group, Yorkshire have played fewer games against Worcestershire than any other county.
• Yorkshire have only won one T20 match in Worcester; of the five scheduled games three were lost and one abandoned.
• Three of Yorkshire’s ten highest T20 totals have been scored against Worcestershire, but all have been at Headingley. Its highest at Worcester is 187 for seven in 2010. Worcestershire’s highest home T20 total is 208 for seven also made in 2010.
• Worcestershire’s lowest score against Yorkshire in a T20 match at Worcester is 183 for seven made in 2011. Yorkshire’s highest is 187 for seven.
• Yorkshire’s David Willey scored 118 against Worcestershire at Headingley in 2017 but no one from their opponents has ever made a century at either venue.
• At Worcester in 2011, Shakib-al-Hasan took four for 31 against Yorkshire but no bowler from the White Rose team has ever taken four wickets in an away match in this series, its best at Worcester being three for 30 by Ajmal Shahzad in the same match.
HOW TO FOLLOW
There will also be a match blog on the website, and the clips available via the match centre. Highlights will also be available after the game.