Ben Coad has hailed the influence of Steve Patterson on his own career and all of those around him as Yorkshire prepare to bid farewell to the Championship-winning seamer during the next fortnight.
Coad and Patterson united brilliantly during the third afternoon and evening against Essex at Headingley last week, sharing seven wickets to nearly drag that LV= Insurance County Championship game out of the fire.
Patterson claimed 5-46 and Coad 2-40 in a spirited defence of 162, which fell agonisingly short as Essex won by one wicket.
In the first innings of that game, Coad claimed his 200th first-class wicket in his 51st game.
And with Patterson soon to depart Headingley, the Ripon-born seamer will be taking on the role of the bowling attack’s elder statesman at the grand old age of 29 when next season begins.
“Patto will be greatly missed,” said Coad, ahead of Tuesday’s penultimate round Division One clash with league leaders Surrey at the Oval (10.30am).
“He’s been massive for my career, having been captain at the time when I’ve been trying to establish myself.
“He’s been at mid-on and mid-off pretty much all that time talking to me.
“He’s been a great player for the club, a great leader and, more importantly, a great man. It will be very sad to see him go.
“I still feel young, but I’ll try and take that senior role on that he’s had.
“I actually don’t think I need to do a great deal. The lads know their roles and how they bowl. But I’ll always be there to give any advice if it’s needed. I’m more than happy to do that.”
Yorkshire head down to the Oval placed sixth in the table on 132 points, 17 clear of Kent and Warwickshire, who are eighth and ninth in the table. Warwickshire currently occupy ninth, the second relegation place.
Jonny Tattersall’s side, therefore, are not yet clear of relegation danger, though that prospect still remains an outside one.
A significant factor is that seventh-placed Somerset (123) and Kent (115) play each other at Canterbury next week.
This week, Warwickshire travel to bottom side Gloucestershire, who are all but mathematically relegated, Kent travel to second-placed Hampshire and Somerset host Northamptonshire.
If Yorkshire are to claim their second win of the season at the Oval, re-named the Mickey Stewart Oval this week in honour of their legend’s 90th birthday, then it is likely they will need Coad to continue what has been an impressive return from a groin injury during the last couple of months.
In both Championship and 50-over cricket, he has claimed 19 wickets in 11 games, including a best of 3-20.
“It’s great to be back out there with the lads,” he said, before reflecting more widely on his career development following last week’s 200th scalp.
“I’m just hoping to perform where I can.
“When I made my debut (in 2016) and was averaging about 95, I didn’t think I was going to be that good of a bowler. But I’ve been very happy with how things have gone so far.
“As long as I can keep contributing for the team, I’ll be very happy.”
In terms of personal progression, he said: “I need to stay fit. It’s easier said than done. But if I can get a longer run and keep rhythm all the way through a season rather than starting, stopping, starting, that will be big help.
“It would be great to add a couple of yards of pace on. But it’s been pretty much the same since the start of my career. If that doesn’t come, I’ve got this far without it.”
Coad played against Essex’s Sam Cook last week, a bowler who is being talked about as a possible future England player. During the same game, Cook also took his 200th first-class wicket.
In terms of his own England ambitions, Coad said: “I will always keep striving to get to that point. But I need to perform here and see what happens.”
New signing Ben Mike could debut at the Oval after joining the county on loan from Leicestershire ahead of a permanent winter switch.
The bowling attack is going to look very different next year, with Patterson having departed and seamer Matt Milnes joining from Kent.
“Matt Milnes is a very good bowler and Ben is a young prospect,” said Coad. “I think there’s a lot to come from those two.
“There’s plenty of guys there who can be a part of our attack for years to come.
“I haven’t seen a great deal of them in terms of playing against them, but I’ve heard very good things.
“I think I’ve only played against Matt once or twice.
“From what I’ve seen, he’s a very good bowler. He’s a similar age to me, so he has a decent amount of experience and has done well on flat pitches down at Kent. He’ll do well at Headingley, I’m sure.
“I’m sure the attack’s going to be a good one going forwards. The likes of Rev and Hilly are maturing into first-class cricket and are getting better.
“And we’ve got the likes of Fish to come back in, Leechy as well. It can be exciting.”
Surrey are eight points clear of Hampshire with two games remaining in the title race.
While Yorkshire will not have Joe Root available after England Test duty, Surrey could have Ben Foakes and Ollie Pope back in their eleven.
Matthew Waite, meanwhile, has joined Worcestershire on loan for the remainder of the season ahead of a permanent switch to New Road this winter.