BEN COAD is facing a race against time to be fit for the start of the County Championship season as he looks to build on his brilliant 2017.
The 24-year-old pace bowler was the biggest success story at Yorkshire last year, taking 50 Championship wickets at 20.86 – almost twice as many as the next-best bowler – Tim Bresnan – who took 27.
Now Coad is battling to be ready for the first game against champions Essex at Emerald Headingley on April 13 after picking up a hip injury on the club’s pre-season tour.
“It’s a frustrating one, nothing too serious, but it’s just put a bit of a delay on my progress leading up to the start of the season,” he said. “It’s just about resting it for now, and hopefully, I’ll be ready for the first, maybe second game, we’ll just have to see.
“It all depends on how the recovery goes, but, touch wood, it feels good at the minute.
“It’s basically a problem with the hip flexor, but, as I say, nothing too serious.”
Yorkshire’s supporters will be relieved of that, for Coad’s form last year was exceptional at times.
Martyn Moxon, the club’s director of cricket, hit the nail on the head when he described the Harrogate-born man as a “revelation”, with the popular Coad suddenly taking a giant leap forward having previously played little first-team cricket.
Whereas previously he was perhaps more of a defensive bowler, a more aggressive, wicket-taking approach, allied to oodles of hard work, has had a transformative effect.
In a squad packed with many high-class performers, he was practically the first name on the team sheet, although he is in no mood to take anything for granted.
It’s just about resting it for now, and hopefully, I’ll be ready for the first, maybe second game, we’ll just have to see.Yorkshire’s Ben Coad
“I can’t just rest on what happened last year; if I don’t perform in the first couple of games, I’ll expect to be dropped and someone else will come in,” he said.
“There is tremendous competition, and everyone’s fighting for their places, so you have to put performances in every day.
“Hopefully, I can follow up what I did last year, and I’m going into the season with more confidence because I know I can do it.
“I feel I’ve improved during the winter.
“I’ve worked hard with (coach) Rich Pyrah and tried to tweak some things in my action to get a bit quicker - and I feel stronger as well.
“So, hopefully I can build on last year and put in some good performances for the team.”