Rich Pyrah believes Ben Coad and Matthew Fisher can be the best new ball bowlers in the business.
Yorkshire’s bowling coach has heaped praise on the duo who shared eight wickets in the first innings of the county’s ongoing Bob Willis Trophy clash with Leicestershire at Emerald Headingley.
Both are playing in the first four-day games since the start of August following injury, but hit their straps immediately during Sunday’s opening day having also shared 10 wickets in that win at Durham.
Coad claimed 5-18 and Fisher added 3-29 as the Foxes were skittled for 124. Yorkshire replied with 36-2, but unfortunately today’s second day was washed out by rain.
Pyrah was speaking about the strength of Yorkshire’s seam bowling stocks on the day young quick Jared Warner opted to join Gloucestershire on a three-year contract from next season.
While sad to see the promising 23-year-old depart Headingley in search for more regular first-team cricket, Warner’s decision has not diminished Pyrah’s excitement for the talent which remains at the club.
Pyrah said. “Having Coady and Fish back, they’re really growing into roles of lead seamers now.
“Even more pleasing was to have that kind of performance without our captain, Steve Patterson.
“Patto’s been so reliable for so many years, and he’s quite a big loss to us. So to bowl like that without him in the team, it should give the other lads a lot of confidence and encouragement.
“Patto’s not going to be around forever, but we have relied on him for such a long period of time.
“We’ve seen the opening pair there, if they keep developing as they are there then there’s no reason why they can’t become the best opening partnership in the country.
“They tick all the boxes for me. The skill they’ve got, Fish has an extra yard of pace if he needs it as well.
“The thing that’s pleased me most about Fish is that he’s always had the skills, it’s just been about knowing when to use them.
“Now you can see him being a lot more patient, and he uses his skills – the in-swinger or the wobble ball – sparingly now.
“To see those two with the new ball really excites me.”
An obvious question mark about fitness remains, with both having been troubled in recent years.
Pyrah, though, said: “It’s a challenge with all seamers around the country. But if we can keep them fit, we’ll definitely have success. They are that good.
“We have to find a way of doing it. Fish plays all formats, and Coady’s pushing to play white ball and isn’t far away. We just have to find a balance.
“This year we thought we’d done everything we could leading up to India. We’d done strength work, technical work, getting workloads right. But then the build-up changed with Covid.
“If you look at the first game at Durham, they probably bowled too much.
“I’m not too concerned injury wise given what’s happened this year with the impacts of Covid.”
Pyrah continued: “We’re building a really nice crop of bowlers now. They’re all coming to the right age where they’re starting to perform.
“We’ve had quite a bit of potential for a couple of years, but Jordan Thompson’s stood up with Tim Bresnan having gone.
“He performed well in the second-team last year and played a couple of games in the Championship. But he’s really kicked on this year and looks as though he wants to nail that all-rounder’s spot.
“Dom Leech is also an exciting prospect. He’s improved so much this last year. He’s got nine miles an hour quicker in the last year and is bowling mid-eighties consistently as opposed to mid-seventies.
“George Hill as well. He looks like he’s got a really good temperament. He’s done a good job for us as that fifth seamer, and it’s exciting given the amount of improvement he’s got within him.
“Tom Loten is playing this game as a batter, but his bowling has also come on. There is also Matthew Waite, who is injured at the minute. He has so much talent as well.
“It’s really exciting to see the lads coming through, and as a bowling coach it’s gold dust to see these lads playing first-team cricket like they have this year. It’s only going to bode well for the future.
“And signing Dom Bess is going to be a big thing for our seamers. He can take some of the overs off them (to keep them fresher).”
On Warner’s decision to leave – he was offered a new contract – having only played one first-class fixture for Yorkshire, Pyrah said: “I don’t want to lose any of my bowlers.
“I’ve worked with Jared for four or five years now and got really close to him. I always believed he would turn into a Yorkshire first-team cricketer.
“It hasn’t happened as quickly as he wanted, but I still believed he would have got there.
“At his age, he needs to be playing first-team cricket, so you can understand his decision to go to Gloucestershire rather than being the sixth seamer at Yorkshire.
“It’s disappointing, but I wish him well and am sure he’ll turn into a good first-class bowler.”
Yorkshire have now lost more than 450 overs across their three home games in the Bob Willis Trophy, hampering their bid to reach the five-day Lord’s final later this month.
Their bid remains alive, but they do need to get out onto the field over the next two days and win this game.
“It’s been frustrating for the last three games if we’re being honest,” added Pyrah.
We won the first two games away with the next three at home, where we play well. But we’ve not played more than two days in either of the last two games added to the rain this week.
“We’ve had a good start in this game and wanted to drive it home. We’ve still got time, fingers crossed, so we’ll see what happens.
“With the way the league tables are, we’ll have to bat well tomorrow to give ourselves a chance. If we do bat well, we’ll still be in a really good position to win the game on day four.
“There’s a little bit in the pitch, and it’s been under cover all day today, so we’ll have to work hard tomorrow morning to set it up.
“We can’t have done much more this year. We’ve played some excellent cricket, and we’ll keep telling the lads, ‘Don’t get frustrated, don’t chase the game, keep trusting what you’re doing’.”