Steve Patterson is hoping Duanne Olivier can produce a replica of his late season performances last summer – but for longer – in 2020.
The Yorkshire captain believes the South African fast bowler can display his best form for the county this year and beyond, with a relaxed attitude to his game being the key.
Olivier was the White Rose’s leading wicket-taker in the Specsavers County Championship during his maiden campaign at Emerald Headingley, taking 43 in 13 appearances, including two five-wicket hauls.
But even he admitted his form can improve after arriving in England on the back of some stunning form in Test Match cricket for the Proteas.
Olivier, 27-years-old, who took 14 wickets in his final three four-day outings last August and September, has recently returned to winter training in the Headingley indoor nets having had a break back home in South Africa.
Patterson said: “D had played in England before, for Derby, but for less than a full season. So last year was his first full one in England.
“What I found is that early on in the year, he perhaps tried to impress a bit too much. He tried a few too many things and didn’t have the start he wanted. Then he tried to bowl with a bit more control.
“I felt the last three or four games of the year – the last six weeks or so – we really started to see the Duanne that I feel we will see over the next few years. I thought his bowling was excellent.
“I know that Kent game at home was hugely disappointing, but the way he started with the new ball was absolutely outstanding (5-108 with four new ball wickets). Spells like that showed a lot more of what he’s capable of.
“He still got plenty of wickets, but this year I think we’ll see a marked improvement. He will be better for last year.
“It will be exciting because he offers us a point of difference in terms of his height and pace. To be able to offer that on slow pitches is invaluable.”
Olivier’s pace and bounce terrified a number of county batsmen in 2019 and contributed to wickets for his team-mates even if he would have wanted more reward for himself.
Patterson said: “What I tried to do last year was not put any pressure on him and trust that he’s played Test cricket and has plenty of experience and a fantastic career record. As the season went on, he learnt more and more about what suited him in English conditions.
“My role towards him will be to encourage him to be confident and start as he finished last season.
“It would have been hard for him because it was a big move – it was in the media a lot – and he wanted to show his value and fulfil the expectation straightaway.
“But as the year went on, he started to relax a lot more and enjoy his cricket. That’s what I hope we will see more of from him.”