Cricket: Yorkshire’s white-ball game a case of one step forward and two back

Jack Leaning
Jack Leaning
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There was a lot of honesty in the dressing room after our Royal London Cup loss to Gloucestershire at Headingley and the performance summed up our white-ball cricket season. Really hot and cold.

To lose in the way we did on Tuesday was disappointing. Especially after how we did against Lancashire on Saturday.

We just didn’t get out of the blocks from ball one against Gloucester, really. We were poor and lost four wickets in the first 10 overs.

We pulled it back quite well through Adil Rashid and Jack Leaning, but then lost five wickets for the last 18 runs. We should have scraped to 230 or 250 and not to bat 50 overs was absolutely scandalous.

But having said that, from the position we had them in at 83-6, we probably should have still won the game in the end.

As to why we are so inconsistent, it’s a question a lot of people in sport search for. It basically comes down to being switched on and performing your skills under pressure.

You can do all the practice you want and the lads work hard. But as soon as you go into a game, you must perform under pressure.

It was also so frustrating in the Twenty20 clash with Nottinghamshire the night before we faced Lancashire.

It was a game of two halves; in the first half, we were outstanding and put 200 on the board. But then, our bowling and fielding was pretty poor and we were pretty gutted.

The way we bounced back the next day against Lancashire was brilliant. From waking up in the morning, I was still pretty low after Friday night. But the lads hit back well and showed character.

After the game, the lads were buzzing and had picked themselves back up pretty quickly. But all the hard work was thrown away by the poor work we did against Gloucester.

At the minute in the limited overs stuff, it seems we are taking one step forward and two steps back. All we can keep doing is working hard and being honest with ourselves.

Sometimes, you need a few harsh words and after Tuesday, it was probably time for that. The lads needed to look in the mirror and ask themselves if they did everything they could to win a game for Yorkshire.

We were not at our best and I thought our attitude was a just little bit off.

I have always said we are a really good side when we are focused and our attitude is good. When we are not, we are not very good.

Maybe the break at the minute has come at a good time. June and July has been a tough schedule and the lads have virtually spent every single day with each other.

It gets to a point where, not just physically but mentally, you need a break from the game. For the players in the first team to have four out of five days off in the week will have come at a nice little time to recharge the batteries and get away from each other and make sure when we come back for training tomorrow, we hit the ground running again.

It will be a massive eight weeks of the season after that.

Onto England and I saw a bit of the last Test match and I thought Alistair Cook showed a lot of mental strength with his knock in the first innings.

He is a world-class performer. You can argue he’s the best batsmen we have got.

Obviously, people have been getting into him over the past six to 12 months and to bounce back like he did was impressive.

Hopefully, he can shut the critics up as he’s a very good bloke who I know is passionate about English cricket who is trying his best to put everything right.

For me, Cook is as tough as they come. You don’t bat like he does unless you are a tough character. He’s not the most flamboyant and doesn’t go out and dominate attacks by scoring at a run a ball. But what he does is know his own game inside out and he sticks to that.

He has found a way that works for him over a long period of time. He will become one – or has already – of England’s greatest-ever batsmen.

Gary Ballance got another century and he’s had a fantastic start to his Test career.

I always knew he would have a good start. But I have got to be honest and say I didn’t expect him to score as many hundreds as he has done already.

He has got a really solid technique, a great head on his shoulders and is very mature and knows his game inside out.

He is now reaping the rewards for that.

Liam Plunkett was rested and I thought he looked tired at Lord’s and his pace was a bit down in the first innings.

The break has probably come at an ideal time to rest up and keep the body ticking over. Maybe in the next Test at Old Trafford, it will suit his style of bowling a little bit more.

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