Will Fraine is hoping to kick on from what he believes has been an encouraging start to his Yorkshire career.
The 24-year-old batsman, signed on a three-year contract ahead of 2019 from Nottinghamshire, has not been a first-team regular across the subsequent two seasons, yet he has shown his quality against both red and white balls.
In 2019, he hit a maiden first-class century in the County Championship victory over Surrey at Scarborough whilst opening the batting against ex-South Africa Test quick Morne Morkel.
Last summer, he excelled in the Vitality Blast T20 competition whilst batting at number five. He posted 163 runs in eight innings, regularly coming in late in the innings and powerfully clearing the boundary ropes.
The prime example was a 16-ball 44 in the opening round win over Derbyshire at Emerald Headingley when he came in at 160-3 in the 16th over and hit five sixes to push the score up to 220-3.
Unfortunately, in late 2019, he dislocated his left knee cap twice in the space of three months and required surgery as a result, hampering his preparation for last summer.
But, with a much more productive winter under his belt, he is hoping to be able to return positive performances across all formats in 2021.
“Last summer was tough,” he said. “I was doing everything I could to get back fit, but I came into the season feeling a bit undercooked.
“I hadn’t had the time to weed out the technical faults I wanted to last winter, and I came into the season doubting myself in the red ball stuff. It told with my form (32 runs in three Bob Willis Trophy matches).
“But I think the white ball stuff was a significant positive.
“I was put into a position where I hadn’t really batted before and pulled an innings out of the bag immediately, which set the platform. Luckily, I was able to have a few more knocks.
“It was good because I showed in 2019 that I can play red ball cricket without getting much opportunity to show my white ball game.
“Thankfully, now, I’ve had the opportunity to show my fellow players, coaches and supporters that I’ve been able to perform at both.”
For a player who admits to doubts against the red ball, it was particularly impressive that he was able to bat with such freedom in T20.
Fraine continued: “PG (Paul Grayson) said it best. He’s someone who keeps it very simple. He said, ‘You perhaps just need to go out there and have a whack’.
“Against the white ball, you don’t necessarily think about your technique too much. It’s more about instinct and striking the ball, particularly T20.
“In the red ball stuff, I was just overthinking it a bit too much.
“To get that innings in the first game against Derbyshire as part of a perfect team performance, it really settled me and made me feel ok.
“What really helped was us getting off to good starts through Lythy and Rooty. That gave me the freedom to just go out and play my role, which was to get us up close to 200.
“At Notts away, I got 16 and was caught at long-on. And I was disappointed because I felt I should have hit it for six.
“But I chatted quite a bit after the game to Galey and Rooty about whether I should have done it, was it the right option? We ended up losing that game only just against the champions.
“They assured me it was absolutely the right option because that was my job.”
Make no mistake, Fraine, a former Durham University captain, is loving life at Headingley.
He said: “When I signed, I was just as apprehensive as the typical Yorkshire supporter picking up the paper and thinking, ‘Who’s this bloke we’ve just signed?’. But it was a dream come true.
“And the one thing you will always get with myself, and the rest of the lads for that matter, is that I will always give everything I can for the team.
“I will work as hard as I possibly can.
“I was very grateful to Martyn (Moxon), Galey and PG for picking me out and seeing that potential.
“I’ve shown glimpses. When I’ve been out of the first team, I’ve performed really well in the seconds to get back in. That’s all you can do when you’re not in the team.
“I’ve played 10 or 11 first-class games now, so I’ve got a good taste of it.
“I know what I want to do with my game, and we all know what I need to do to take my game to the next level, especially in the red ball stuff.
“My white ball game is in a good place, and I just want to keep that simple.
“You always wish for more, but it’s been a positive start.
“Hopefully I can progress this summer and play more cricket across all the formats.”