Jordan Thompson is refusing to rest on his laurels as he bids to back up last season’s superb form.
The all-rounder, 24, was Yorkshire’s standout performer during the shortened Bob Willis Trophy and showed flashes of excellence in the Vitality Blast.
In five four-day games, he scored 234 runs and took 15 wickets to mark an outstanding breakthrough summer.
It was well documented that he would not have started the campaign but for a last minute injury to Matthew Waite before the opening game at Durham.
Thompson is now injured himself, with a grade two left calf tear, and is a doubt to begin the new season next month. But when he is fit, he knows he has to hit the ground running.
“After the way I performed, I know I have to back it up,” he said. “I can’t just sit back and expect things to just happen because it doesn’t work like that.
“The way my appearances came around last year through a couple of injuries, that might not happen this summer.
“There is going to be so much competition between three or four of us for the all-rounder spots.
“Whether you start in the seconds and have to find form or you start well in the firsts, you’re going to have to keep that up because there will be lads waiting in the wings to play.
“I can’t really see anyone playing all the games like I did last season because it’s going to be a longer and tougher season.
“We haven’t played a full summer for 18 months now, and the whole squad is going to be needed.
“It’s just about making sure you’re ready at the right time. If you can hit a decent run of form, you have to make the most of it.”
Nevertheless, the Pudsey St Lawrence man is brimming with self belief.
He continued: “Last season gave me a massive confidence boost to know that, whilst I may not necessarily walk straight back into the team, when I’m in it I can be trusted and am well thought of.
“I have shown that I am a first-team cricketer. That’s not just skills wise, but mentally as well.
“I’ve played a lot of cricket now. At the end of the day, I made my first-team debut at 21 and my second-team debut at 16. And I think that’s worked well for me – that slow build-up to the first team – because I’ve learnt a lot about myself and about the game.
“I feel I’m now in a position to maintain my own game and also offer stuff to Patto (captain Steve Patterson) about other things, patterns in the game and things like that.
“I’m not a young lad making his way in the game anymore, I’m an established member of the first-team squad who is expected to perform.”
Yorkshire are a week away from their first pre-season friendly, a two-day game behind closed doors against Durham at Emerald Headingley next Monday and Tuesday.
It will end what has been a long and different winter for Thompson and his team-mates, who have been training in small groups at Headingley, with only a handful of players permitted in each.
“Myself and the rest of the lads can’t wait to get going again,” he said.
“Being indoors in smaller groups, not mixing with a lot of the lads, has been a bit tougher than usual.
“It will be good to get together and play as a full squad instead of just training with four or five people at a time.
“There are people we haven’t seen a lot of leading up to the season. But we’ve said it might not be a bad thing because we’ll have a lot to talk about and won’t be getting sick of each other as the season goes on!”
Returning to Thompson’s increased standing within the White Rose first-team squad, that will arguably be most evident during this summer’s Royal London one-day Cup through July and August.
Shorn of nine senior players due to involvement in the Hundred, the Vikings team will have a youthful look about it, meaning Thompson will be relied up even more.
“It’s something I have thought about if I’m playing in the one-day Cup,” he said.
“There could still be a chance of a Hundred wildcard, which could take me or someone else out of the side. But if I am in the one-day stuff, lads like myself and Matthew Waite have got to be experienced heads and lead that team forwards.
“It’s a position we won’t have been in before, and it would be a good challenge.
“Realistically, I haven’t actually played that much List A cricket. We lost it entirely last year and the year before I only played one game and it got rained off (Durham at Headingley).
“I’ve played a lot of one-day cricket at second-team level. So the step up will be interesting.”
Each and every pre-season, Yorkshire’s players and coaches get asked the same question. Can you win trophies?
Maybe in recent years, the answers have come more in hope than expectation given the rebuilding process which has taken place. This year, however, there is definite expectation, according to Thompson.
He added: “The squad we are building, and the experience the younger lads like myself and Harry Brook are gaining, it’s massively important for us to start looking to win some silverware.
“With a couple of the England lads coming back – Bessy and hopefully Rooty for a few games – that would be a massive boost.
“We definitely have a core of players who can lead the club forwards for a number of years to come.”