Steve Patterson has renewed calls for top order runs in order to boost Yorkshire’s Specsavers County Championship performances.
Patterson, confirmed as the county’s permanent captain last week, will hope to see a replica of Yorkshire’s late season form when the likes of Gary Ballance and Tom Kohler-Cadmore fired to inspire wins over Lancashire and Worcestershire.
Consistent runs have been an issue for the White Rose in recent seasons, with Andrew Gale and Martyn Moxon often talking about and trying to find methods to spark an improvement.
It is a topical issue given England’s recent struggles in the West Indies, where they have slipped to a surprising series defeat on the back of being bowled out for 77 in Barbados and 187 and 132 in Antigua.
In last season’s Division One, only Surrey’s Rory Burns (1,359) and Somerset’s James Hildreth (1,089) broke the 1,000 runs barrier. In Division Two, only Warwickshire’s Ian Bell (1,027) and Derbyshire’s Wayne Madsen (1,016) did so.
Patterson said: “I don’t think it’s any secret that there’s been a steady decline in the ability of cricketers to bat time in domestic cricket.
“With the money available in T20 cricket, there’s a lot of emphasis on white ball cricket, and I think batsmen have taken their eye off the red ball game and the art of batting time.
“There are very few Alastair Cooks around – I’m not sure we’ll ever see someone with his skill level at batting for a day and a half.
“The Test side are crying out for someone like that but domestically there is a shortage of people who are able to bat for three or four sessions. You just don’t see it any more.”
Ballance would be high up on the list of county cricketers with the ability to bat long, as would Yorkshire opener Adam Lyth, a man with four Championship double centuries to his name, including a best of 251.
They will both be hopeful of a return to the Test side.
Another is Lancashire opener Haseeb Hameed, who scored two centuries in the same game against Yorkshire at Emirates Old Trafford in August 2016, a game in which Patterson played.
Hameed, then 19, was catapulted into the England side and made an encouraging start on tour in India later that year before breaking his finger.
Since then, he has not scored a first-class century and was left out by Lancashire last season.
Hameed’s name was mentioned to Patterson as someone with the ability and mindset to bat for a long time, and the Yorkshire skipper added: “When you saw him bat as he did when he got his two hundreds against us, you were thinking he has some real ability.
“But for one reason or another, he’s struggled for a year or two, and success in any sport is about numbers.
“To an extent, it doesn’t matter how you do it. It’s about getting high scores.”