Lockie Ferguson admits to already being wowed by the Yorkshire faithful. Now he is aiming to give them a similar feeling via his performances in the Vitality Blast, which starts tomorrow night at Emerald Headingley.
The New Zealand fast bowler is set to debut as an overseas player for the Vikings when Birmingham Bears visit for the 2021 North Group opener (6.30pm).
A sellout crowd will watch the Kiwi and fellow international stars Jonny Bairstow, Adil Rashid and Dawid Malan don the White Rose.
It will be only be Ferguson’s second appearance at Headingley having previously represented Derbyshire in 2018, taking three wickets in a Blast victory.
“The crowd, when I played here for Derby, certainly wasn’t shy to have a few words when I was on the boundary,” laughed the 29-year-old.
“I might have got stitched up a bit.
“It was the West Stand and they said, ‘Oh, Lockie, you have a good arm, we need you on the boundary’.
“I certainly found some close friends out there who gave me some stick. But it was all for the love of the game.”
Talking about love for the game, that brings us to the story of the White Rose supporters which really did impress the Auckland native.
“I did hear the cool thing about fans not being able to get in to watch games but they still bought their season tickets to support the club.
“I think that’s amazing.
“To not be able to go and watch them in person, but obviously they are very close to the club and want to leave their money in to make sure they are sound for the years going forwards.
“That kind of stuff is pretty epic.”
When speaking to the media about his move to Emerald Headingley, Ferguson was asked how big a difference crowds can make to a team’s performance following the long period without them inside English grounds.
He continued: “It makes a massive difference, particularly for the home team, playing in front of those supporters.
“In New Zealand, we were very fortunate that we could have fans in for most of the games, but playing in the IPL for the last two series we obviously had no fans. It’s just a different feeling.
“That one game I played here, there were a lot of songs sung supporting the home team. To get that behind you, it goes a long way.”
Ferguson, capped 51 times by his country across all formats, says there was no hesitation in making his decision when Yorkshire came calling for this year’s Blast.
“When Yorkshire come knocking to play for them, it’s always a, ‘Yes’,” he said.
“Hopefully, I’ll get to know them more as the tournament goes on and we’ll celebrate a few wins together.”
Not surprisingly, Ferguson is confident of success both personally and team wise.
He trained with the squad at the start of the week.