Jordan Thompson produced arguably the standout moment of Yorkshire’s 2022 summer when he defended just five runs off the final over to beat Surrey at the Oval and seal a place at Vitality Blast Finals Day. And the all-action all-rounder can’t wait to get stuck in again.
The start of this season’s Blast is just a day away, and Thompson and his Vikings team-mates are desperate to better last year’s run to the semi-finals and claim the county’s maiden Blast title.
To do that, Thompson knows he has to stand up again in the big moments.
“Those types of performances will live long, but this year you’ve got to do it more consistently,” said the Pudsey St Lawrence man.
“Hopefully I can have a real impact and be a linchpin in the squad to drive us towards Finals Day.
“Last year, for a lot of the time, we had a team which didn’t have a lot of T20 experience in it. But we found ourselves at Finals Day and just fell short.
“We’ve brought in some good signings now. Shan (Masood) has played a lot of T20 cricket and (David) Wiese is a very experienced campaigner around the world. We know we have some experience in our ranks.
“The lads who are already in the squad are a year older and more than capable of winning games of cricket.
“There’s a couple gone and a couple in, and the lads who are here are starting to know their games more in T20 cricket.
“We’re looking forward to getting going.”
This season’s Blast begins with a new innovation, Blast Off, and Yorkshire are involved in the double header day at Edgbaston tomorrow when Derbyshire host Lancashire in the afternoon (2.30pm) before the Vikings tackle hosts Birmingham Bears under the lights from 6.30pm. Both fixtures will be televised live by Sky Sports.
“It will be a good day. Two good games as a launch to the season, it’s exciting,” Thompson said.
“It’s a tough start for us, Birmingham away on their own patch. But if we can go there and get the win, we’ll get the ball rolling.”
Thompson is an increasingly experienced short-form campaigner. Since last year’s Blast finished, he has played in the Hundred, the Abu Dhabi T10 and the ILT20 competition in the UAE.
But the exciting thing is that, at the age of 26, he still has plenty of a room for improvement and development. He is certainly a cricketer with a high ceiling.
Having been the joint leading wicket-taker in both the Hundred and the Abu Dhabi T20 League last year, he then had to sit on the sidelines for the majority of the ILT20 as selection went against him at the MI Emirates team.
Thankfully, he still found his time in the Gulf at the start of this year a very useful experience and one which should help Yorkshire.
“There’s a lot of learnings,” he said.
“Playing in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, it’s a lot different to how you’d go about it as a bowler given the conditions. I don’t think you’d use a slower ball in those games just because the pitches are low and skiddy. In England, different conditions will dictate.
“I learnt from the people I was around.
“Playing with Kieron Pollard again, playing under Shane Bond as a bowling coach and Dwayne Bravo as a team-mate, you learn and pick their brains in practice.
“There are nuggets of information I’m hoping to use going forwards into the Blast.”
While Thompson has been a regular performer with the white ball in recent seasons, his returns with the bat have been few and far between.
But in last season’s semi-final defeat against Lancashire, he crashed an exhilarating 50 off 18 balls from number six having come in with six overs remaining in the innings.
With the likes of Adam Lyth, Shan Masood and Dawid Malan available to start the campaign, it is likely Thompson will be used as a late innings hitter.
Though, he has previously batted at three, and versatility is a key ingredient to success for any T20 cricketer.
He added: “More often, my batting performances have come when I’ve had time to do it.
“Look at mine and Brooky’s partnership against Worcester a few years ago (2021). I was in after 10 overs. I batted at three against Northants and got 70-odd the same season.
“When I was in against Lancs there was a bit of time left and I got 50-odd.
“Given time, I can use it effectively. Even if I’m 10 off 10 balls I can catch up and be striking at 180-200 by the end. I’m seen more of a striker at the end, but I massively believe I can build an innings.
“I don’t mind batting lower down, but it just depends on what route we go down with the line-up we’ve got.
“My death hitting is a strength of mine, but it would be nice to build an innings and get some more big scores.”