Big Ben ready to chime
Fast bowler Ben Cliff heads into 2023 having already had a brief taste of first-team action, playing in a solitary One-Day Cup match against Northamptonshire at York last August when he struck once in a high-scoring win.
Cliff was, by then, a regular in the county’s second-team and was also playing for the England Under 19s.
He was drafted into their World Cup squad at the start of the year in the Caribbean as an injury replacement and went on to take two wickets in a pair of Test appearances against Sri Lanka on home soil after that aforementioned Northants appearance.
Cliff, aged 20, made his first recorded appearance for the county as an Under 14 and progressed through the age-groups to play for the Academy and the seconds.
He contributed 15 wickets in eight appearances to Yorkshire’s Second XI Championship title success in 2022, including a trio of two-wicket hauls during the first half of the campaign. In the trophy-clinging draw against Kent in September, he took a wicket in both innings and shared the new ball with Matthew Fisher.
He struck with just his fourth ball in the 50-over clash with Northants at York, removing the dangerous opener Ricardo Vasconcelos.
That notable scalp should be the first of many for the rookie contracted quick.