Ottis Gibson has described fit again Matthew Fisher as a “world-class operator” – but the man himself is keen to take the patient approach to proving his coach right.
Fast bowler Fisher has recovered from the broken hand he suffered on England Lions duty in Sri Lanka in February and will travel down to Bristol for tomorrow’s LV= Insurance County Championship clash with Gloucestershire at Bristol (11am).
Of course, living up to that world-class tag would likely see the York-born quick terrorising the Australians in this summer’s Ashes, something which is distinctly possible but still a long way away for a bowler who has only played two Championship matches since the start of last season.
Ironically, both have come against this week’s opponents, the first at Bristol last April and then again at Headingley last September.
He suffered a stress fracture of his back in the first game and recovered in time for the second.
“Gloucestershire’s the only team I play against,” smiled the 25-year-old.
“But I’ve had some success against them, and it would be nice to continue that before kicking on and playing against someone else afterwards.
“I’m trying to get back, hit the ground running and win some games. We know what our goal for the season is, and that’s to get promoted.
“The Ashes is in the back of my mind, and you want to be there. But there’s so many bowlers who are fit and firing.
“I can’t really afford to think too much about that. My main goal has got to be winning games for Yorkshire. I’ll concentrate on that and whatever else happens, happens.”
One Test star Fisher claimed 11 wickets across both games against Gloucestershire last season, one win and one defeat.
The game at Bristol saw Yorkshire win a hard-fought affair by six wickets. It started a campaign in which, unfortunately, both sides were relegated from Division One. It was the county’s last Championship victory.
A repeat of that result would be just the ticket for a Yorkshire side aiming to bounce back from their opening round defeat to Leicestershire by three wickets at Headingley on Sunday.
“That was a good game that went down to the last hour,” coach Gibson said when looking back to that victory over Gloucestershire.
“Since I’ve been here, a lot of the games have done that. If you remember last year, almost all of the first six games went down to the last hour of the last day.”
Whilst Gibson was clearly disappointed with Sunday’s defeat against the Foxes when the visitors chased down 389 on the last day, he refused to be too downbeat.
“We did a lot of good things in the game,” he said.
“We got 500 in the first innings and declared with nearly 300 in the second. Then we also got 17 wickets. The bowlers did a hell of a lot on a very flat wicket, I must say. We’ll see how everybody shapes up.
“We’ll learn from that game, take what we need from it and go to Bristol and try and get the season up and running.”
Gloucestershire drew their opening game of 2023 at Glamorgan. Bowled out for 165 in the first innings, they then conceded 404 before hitting 569-7 declared in the second innings to save their skin.
Australian overseas opener Marcus Harris and captain Graeme van Buuren hit second-innings centuries. Pakistan left-arm spinner Zafar Gohar is also back with the county.
Fisher isn’t the only Test player to join Yorkshire’s squad this week. In-form Pakistan batter Saud Shakeel is the other.
Shakeel has arrived on a short-term overseas deal and will line-up alongside West Indian Shai Hope.
The 27-year-old has made a dream start to life in Test cricket, scoring 580 runs in five matches, including five fifties and a century. The middle order left-hander has reached 50 in every Test he has played and has arrived at Headingley in part on the recommendation of new club captain Shan Masood, who remains unavailable because of international commitments.
“Saud’s a fantastic player,” said Gibson.
“What he brings immediately is a selection dilemma because somebody needs to miss out. He will bring us that international experience and hopefully lots and lots of runs over the next few weeks.
“He bats long and is a patient. When I’ve spoken to Shan about him, he says he’s a very good player – technically very sound.”