By Graham Hardcastle

Jonny Tattersall was always confident he would be able to get back into county cricket after being released by Yorkshire in 2015, but the former England under 19s man admits he was surprised that his second chance came at Emerald Headingley.

Tattersall, 24, is brimming with confidence on the eve of the new season and, he says, feeling completely at home in the first-team environment after a couple of pre-season centuries at home and abroad.

His tale is quite a remarkable one, especially when you consider he is likely to keep wicket for the majority of this season, starting with Friday’s Specsavers County Championship opener against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.

Prior to last winter, he was just a batsman who hadn’t even kept in second-team cricket, just doing bits of it as a junior.

But the White Rose hierarchy saw something in him to believe he could be a success behind the stumps. And so it has proved.

He ousted Andrew Hodd as the county’s understudy to Jonny Bairstow last May and encouraged in all formats with bat and gloves.

Over the last few weeks, he has scored red ball centuries against Durham in Potchefstroom and Leeds/Bradford MCC Universities at Weetwood.

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His unbeaten 135 against the students on Monday – a match which Yorkshire won by an innings – was his maiden first-class century after two previous fifties last summer.

“I’m looking forward to starting in the first team,” said the Harrogate-born right-hander. “That’s the main thing this season. You strive for that, and it’s a reward for all the hard work I put in last year.

“I feel more relaxed now. Scoring runs certainly helps with that, and hopefully I can maintain what I’m doing.

“My goals have changed this season. Last year I wanted to get into the first team, and now I want to really excel as best I can and win games for the team.

“I’m fully expecting to play most of, if not all of, the season given Jonny’s international commitments. It’s a great opportunity.”

After being released in 2015, Tattersall spent time in Tasmania, played Minor Counties cricket for Lincolnshire and trialled with Durham and Derbyshire.

Impressive club form for Harrogate forced Yorkshire’s hand, and he was picked for second-team cricket at the back end of 2016. The rest, as they say, is history.

“I was always confident of getting back into county cricket, but I wasn’t sure whether it would be in the first or second team somewhere.

“I didn’t expect to come straight back to Yorkshire!

“I thought I’d have gone elsewhere and maybe come back afterwards. It’s funny how things work out, but I’ve worked hard and am reaping the rewards.”

Tattersall smiles and chuckles when asked the question, ‘Do you feel like a wicketkeeper now rather than just a batsman?’

“Yeah, I do,” he said. “I’m settling into the role.

“I didn’t do badly last pre-season, but there were doubts in my mind whether I could do certain things. When I was waiting for the opportunity to take that one-handed catch or a stumping, you’re not quite sure you can do it.

“But everything that came my way last season, I felt like I dealt with it pretty well. I was really pleased with how it went.”

Now, he will be part of a mouthwatering opening round Division One fixture which sees Yorkshire face a Notts side who have recruited strongly.

England captain Joe Root will line up against Test colleague Stuart Broad to kick off an Ashes summer, and Tattersall can’t wait.

“It’s going to be a good game,” he added. “They’ve got a very good side.

“They have Broad available, and that’s going to be a good test for all our batters. It will be a tough fixture, but hopefully we can get off to winning ways.”

Meanwhile, new signing Duanne Olivier will be fit for the clash despite leaving the field midway through his fourth over of the third morning against Leeds/Bradford with knee pain having slipped in his delivery stride.

An image of Lauren Winfield-Hill and Adil Rashid, with the Yorkshire logo and Northern Diamonds logo in the middle

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