Jordan Thompson has come a long way as a cricketer since his first two meaningful contributions in Yorkshire first-team colours against Derbyshire in Vitality Blast matches in 2018 and 2019, including one at Chesterfield.
In July 2018, he claimed 3-23 from three overs at Headingley before whacking 50 off 27 balls at the Queen’s Park ground a year later.
We will gloss over both results, if you don’t mind. You get the drift.
But given Yorkshire are back in Blast action against the same opponents at Chesterfield tomorrow (2.30pm), it’s a good time to reflect on a career which has just got better and better for 26-year-old Thompson.
As an all-rounder, Thompson has contributed both with bat and ball, but more so the latter in the last few years.
The Pudsey St Lawrence man has been the county’s leading four-day wicket-taker in each of the last three seasons and is in the hunt for the same accolade again this summer having struck 18 times with his bustling seamers.
In the Blast, he has been the Vikings’ joint leading wicket-taker or outright for the last three seasons and is leading the way against this year with 16 victims. He is the joint third leading wicket-taker in the competition.
“I feel like it’s been an ok season so far,” said Thompson.
“I’m leading wicket-taker in both formats and have chipped in with the bat, so maybe I’m being a bit harsh in parts.
“I feel like it’s epitomised me as a player. I feel like I’ve contributed when I’ve needed to and stood up at some key times. That’s what I like to be judged on, finishing games off.
“The innings (55 not out) against Glamorgan in the Championship game at Headingley is the obvious example.
“It’s probably been a bit better than ok, but I want to be scoring more fifties in T20 and taking more wickets and scoring more runs in the Championship.”
Thompson’s Blast haul of wickets this season includes returns of 4-34 and a career best 5-21 from 3.3 overs, the latter coming in the win over Leicestershire at Grace Road last week.
He continued: “I’ve learnt a lot about myself in the last couple of years. I know I’ve got all the skills, but it’s been drilled into me that the best ball you use is your stock ball.
“It’s hitting the top of the stumps for a long period of time.
“In the Leicester game at their place, for example, I didn’t bowl a single variation. I bowled 21 top of the stump cross seam balls. That just shows you have to read the situation.
“I’ll go to my variations when I need to and will throw them in when I think it’s the right time. But it’s important that you stick to your best ball for as long as possible.”
We’ve already reeled off some statistics which show Thompson’s worth to Yorkshire. But let’s have a look at some others which prove his success beyond the county game.
That’s the thing nowadays, isn’t it. Players can play short-form cricket elsewhere.
Since the end of last season’s Blast, Thompson has played in three other franchise competitions.
He played in the Hundred for the London Spirit last August, then the Abu Dhabi T10 League for the New York Strikers in late November and early December.
Then, through January and into February, he played at the ILT20 competition in the UAE for the MI Emirates team.
In the former two, he was the joint leading wicket-taker in both with 14 and 12 wickets respectively.
Competitions like the Hundred and other global leagues have gained criticism in many quarters. But for players like Thompson, it’s clear they are of significant importance.
He said: “There’s so many opportunities now. Even through the English season, there are tournaments cropping up. Then in the winter, there are so many chances to get picked up and to perform.
“Even if you don’t play, like myself in the ILT20 – I only played two games, you can still learn so much.
“I was under the captaincy of Kieron Pollard and was there with the likes of Dwayne Bravo and Trent Boult. It’s a learning curve for a lot of people.
“Ben Mike and Matthew Revis went out there to train with the Gulf Giants, and you come back with a lot of confidence.
“I’m sure people will be sniffing around James Wharton now after smacking a hundred off 50 balls.
“Wharts, a couple of years ago, was a long way from the first choice T20 team. But he’s put so much work in over the winter. People are just so impressed by him.
“Matty Waite hadn’t seen Wharts in the last year, and he came back here with Worcester last Friday and said, ‘Jeez, what’s going on here’. He’d never seen him play like that before.
“It just shows how quickly things can change in white ball cricket.”
Yorkshire return to Chesterfield, the scene of their midweek County Championship win, bidding for a club record seventh straight Blast win. If they achieve it, they will have one foot in the quarter-finals.
Thompson and his fellow Vikings sit second in the North Group on 12 points after nine games, behind only leaders Birmingham Bears courtesy of an inferior net run-rate.
The race for the four quarter-final qualifying places is a tight one, with four points separating Birmingham from sixth-placed Worcestershire, who have played one game fewer than everyone else in the group.
Derbyshire are currently seventh with three wins from nine and seven points.
They head into this fixture on the back of a tie at Durham last night when, chasing 179, they finished on 178-5. Durham had earlier been bowled out for 178.