Ottis Gibson has reflected on a job well done for his squad on Yorkshire’s pre-season tour of Abu Dhabi, which concluded last week. Now, it is down to work on home soil.

Coach Gibson has praised the application of his players during their 10-day stay in the Desert, while he has also said that performances encouraged him across the five days of T20 and red ball action against fellow county opposition.

Yorkshire finished fourth out of six teams in the Abu Dhabi Counties Super Cup T20 competition, winning one game and losing two, before facing Warwickshire in a two-day red ball game last week.

They bowled the Bears out for 310 on day one and responded with 330-9 on day two.

Jordan Thompson and Matthew Fisher shared seven wickets before George Hill’s 81.

Gibson and his squad landed back in the UK on Friday morning and will now face five days of red ball friendly action at Headingley, starting tomorrow.

George Hill

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com. George Hill was in the runs in Abu Dhabi last week.

First up is a three-day game against Leeds/Bradford MCC Universities (11am) – a game which is open to members and supporters.

They then tackle Durham in a behind-closed-doors two-day game on Easter Sunday and Monday.

“I think, over these five days, we will give the guys most likely to play against Leicestershire on April 5the most opportunity,” said Gibson. “They are the ones we will prioritise.”

Reflecting on Yorkshire’s tour, Gibson continued: “The facilities were good, the opposition as well.

“The boys were really focused and committed, and we got a lot of really good work done.

“We worked very hard, and we were lucky with most things on the injury front.

Ottis Gibson

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com. Ottis Gibson will no doubt be donning the woolly hat again this week.

“At the end of the two-day, Dom Bess dived for a ball and picked up a slight strain in his quad. But the physio said it’s nothing major, so it shouldn’t be too much of an issue.

“They’ve all had good run outs in the last couple of weeks and made some good contributions.

“We’re trying to get ourselves ready for the start of the season, and it was good to see a lot of the stuff we’ve done in the indoor school starting to grow outside in the middle.

“We started early in November, so it’s been a long time. But all the work we’ve done in the gym, all the nets, it’s put us in a fantastic position to start the season well.”

In terms of the match action the weekend before last, Yorkshire won one and lost one against Somerset in the T20s, while they also lost to eventual competition champions Birmingham Bears.

James Wharton stood out with scores of 60 and 54 in the two matches against Somerset.

James Wharton

Picture by Ian Roman/Abu Dhabi Cricket and Sports hub. James Wharton in T20 action against Somerset in Abu Dhabi.

Wharton spent his winter in Perth playing grade cricket for Wanneroo – a challenging spell which saw him struggle for runs.

“We love Wharts,” said Gibson. “He’s had opportunities and has shown us glimpses of what he’s capable of.

“I guess what we’re wanting is for him to kick on now.

“He didn’t really put big scores on the board in Australia, but he looked really good on the tour.

“I suspect him being back amongst his mates was a factor. He looked really comfortable in the environment, and hopefully he can take that confidence into the start of the season.”

Thompson and Fisher are two bowlers who have spent a lot of time abroad this winter, playing franchise and England Lions cricket respectively. On day one of the red ball clash with Warwickshire, Thompson claimed four wickets and Fisher three.

Matthew Fisher

Picture by Ian Roman/Abu Dhabi Cricket and Sports hub. Matthew Fisher had an encouraging pre-season tour in Abu Dhabi.

Hill added 81 on day two – another player who has spent time abroad this winter, playing club cricket in New Zealand through January and February.

“Those guys are a bit further on than some of the other guys having been away this winter,” said the coach. “But, to be fair, I quite liked where we all were. A week before that we’d been in the indoor school. So to be at that stage so early on was a really good sign.”

The Leeds/Bradford clash is an annual fixture for Yorkshire, and last season wicketkeeper-batter Harry Duke played for the students.

He is studying a Business Management degree at Leeds University.

Duke will again play for the visitors, allowing both Yorkshire wicketkeepers to get game time this week. Jonny Tattersall is in Yorkshire’s squad.

Many of the Leeds/Bradford bowlers have also spent time at Headingley this winter as net bowlers at Yorkshire training.

Root and Brook

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com. England stars Harry Brook and Joe Root are set to line up for Yorkshire during the opening block of Championship matches.

Meanwhile, Gibson has reported some excellent news for the county ahead of the start of the summer, with Harry Brook indicating his desire to start the campaign and play a good number of County Championship matches before England’s T20 World Cup campaign in the Caribbean and USA through June.

Brook missed England’s recent Test series in India for personal reasons, with his grandmother, Pauline, passing away. He has also opted to miss the ongoing IPL because he wants to be close to home as he and his family grieve.

But he is, revealed Gibson, keen to get back onto the field.

“Now that Brooky isn’t going to the IPL, I suspect he’s going to be available to us for the first few games, including Leicestershire,” he added.

“He loves playing for us, and Rooty is also going to be available for some games in that early period. Having those two playing for us would be special.”

Yorkshire squad for Leeds/Bradford: Lyth, Bean, Wharton, Hill, Tattersall, Revis, Milnes, Thompson, Fisher, Coad, Moriarty, Luxton, Leech, Cliff, Edwards.

Yash Vagadia will play for Durham University against Durham, starting tomorrow.

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