Yorkshire seamer Steven Patterson has been appointed Club captain for the remainder of the 2018 season, signing a new two-year contract extension in the process.
The Beverley-born 34-year-old, who took over the captaincy after Gary Ballance was given time off last month, led his side to a Royal London One-Day Cup play-off win over Essex on Thursday night with figures of 10-1-36-4.
“It’s a proud honour and a privilege to be asked to do the job,” he told yorkshireccc.com. “I think Gary (Ballance) has done a fantastic job over the last year or two, but I think giving him the freedom to just go out there and concentrate on his cricket hopefully means we can get the best out of him as a batsman. We know he’s one of the best in the country when he does that.”
Patterson’s first foray into captaincy resulted in a One-Day cup success at Emirates Riverside with a win over Durham and in all has led the Vikings eight times so far this season, winning six of them and guiding the side to a semi-final.
“I’ve enjoyed it all so far,” he continued. “At the start of the competition I wasn’t quite sure how long I was going to be doing it for. You don’t overthink it when you’re out there on the field and we’ve managed to build a bit of momentum as it has gone on, but I’ve enjoyed that side of it and winning a few games. Obviously now that I know I’m doing it for the rest of the summer, I can get my teeth stuck into it and make a positive contribution to the teams.
“As an experienced player I don’t think the captaincy will make a huge difference to my performance. You know what is expected of you and that shouldn’t change really. You do have a little bit more responsibility towards the other players; to support and help them where possible, be it a little bit of advice or encouragement. From what I’ve learned so far, the main role is to be able to support and help your team-mates as much as possible.
“I’d like to hope that people already saw me as a senior player and somebody they could approach, talk to or ask advice and I hope the fact I’ve been made captain doesn’t change people’s relationships with me because it won’t for me towards them. Hopefully they just see me as the same guy I was a couple of weeks ago; a senior player who will do anything I can to support and help them. Hopefully collectively we can go out there and have some success.”
Patterson, a mainstay of the title-winning successes of 2014 and 2015, has taken 358 wickets in 134 First-Class matches for the Club since making his debut in 2005. Having inked a one-year deal last spring that was due to expire at the end of this year, he will now play out the remainder of his career for the Club he grew up supporting.
“As a young lad it was always my dream to play for the Club,” he continued. “Once you start playing and working your way through, it then became my goal to spend all my career with the Club. For me, at the end of last year I knew I wasn’t finished with cricket, I knew there was plenty more in the tank so to speak and felt I had a bit of unfinished business after a disappointing year. I renewed my efforts with the view that I wanted to play for a bit longer. So to be in a position to be able to sign for two more years and knowing I’ll finish my career at the Club is something I’m very proud of and will be able to look back on in the future with fondness.”
Ballance, whose match-winning innings of 91 and crucial partnership of 129 with Jack Leaning halted Essex’s charge in Thursday’s play-off win at Chelmsford, is satisfied his decision to stand down and Patterson’s appointment is the best course of action going forwards.
He said: “It was obviously a big decision, but I think it was best to let that go. Hopefully for me personally, I can go on and play some nice cricket and not worry too much about the captaincy. I don’t think it was really affecting my batting too much, it just felt like there was quite a lot of burden, in terms of pressure and expectation, on me and it has got a lot tougher over the last few weeks.
“Patto (Steven Patterson) has been really good over the last few weeks, he’s done a great job and seems to be enjoying it so I just think it’s the right thing to do going forwards. I’m always happy to help out in any way, whether it be Patto with the captaincy or the young lads needing advice
“We’ve got plenty of senior players in the group so there’s a lot of good cricket brains going around.”
First XI Coach Andrew Gale said: “I’d like to thank Gary for his efforts with the captaincy. I thought he did a fantastic job but ultimately his runs are more important to the team than his leadership. Patto is a vastly experienced cricketer who has the respect of the dressing room, he has done an excellent job throughout the Royal London One-Day Cup competition and I’m sure he will continue that in to the other two formats.”
Last night, Ballance topped 4,000 List A career runs.