Hants v Yorks (Day 3): Form with the bat enhances Bresnan’s important role
IT is difficult to look past Jonny Bairstow when contemplating Yorkshire’s player of the season for 2015.
The England batsman/wicketkeeper has been in superlative form all season, scoring 1,071 runs in eight County Championship games at an average of 107.10, with five hundreds and five fifties.
Such figures tend to dwarf those of other players, but another man’s work should not go unnoticed.
Tim Bresnan has had a particularly good year - and his most successful summer with the bat.
On a rain-hit third day on which only 7.4 overs were possible at the Ageas Bowl, Yorkshire advancing from 82-4 to 97-4 in reply to Hampshire’s 400-9 declared, Bresnan lifted his Championship runs total this year to 743 at 49.53.
He is unbeaten on 12 going into day four, with Alex Lees the other not out batsman on 37, and his form has been such that he is deservedly batting at No.6.
Although today’s final day should be of no more than academic interest, with a draw by far the likeliest result, there are one or two interesting statistical sub-plots as the season winds down.
For Bresnan’s Championship runs tally this year is only slightly less than Jack Leaning (801), Andrew Gale (783) and Lees (761), while he is averaging more than all of those frontline batsmen.
Of course, it has long been known that Bresnan can bat.
More of a bowling all-rounder in his heyday, he has always been capable of impressive contributions.
Now aged 30, and with his bowling perhaps not as potent as it once was after years of hard labour, Bresnan might now be considered more of a batting all-rounder.
His bowling, however, is still a fine asset; a return of 40 Championship wickets this year at 32.64 is not to be sniffed at.
Bresnan is part of a regular four-pronged pace attack that includes Ryan Sidebottom, Jack Brooks and Steve Patterson, an attack which has played a key role in Yorkshire retaining their title.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Bresnan’s batting this summer is that he has got runs when the team most needed them.
Never was that better illustrated than in the match against Durham at Chester-le-Street in June, when he struck a career-best 169 not out and shared in a county cricket record seventh-wicket stand of 366 with Bairstow that effectively won that game.
Bresnan also scored a hundred against Somerset at Taunton in May and has hit three half-centuries.
Gale believes Bresnan could develop into a Mark Ealham-type player.
The former Kent, Notts and England all-rounder had the ability to challenge the 1,000-run mark each season and take useful wickets.
n David Willey, the Northamptonshire all-rounder who is joining Yorkshire in the close-season, has been named in the England Lions’ T20 squad to play Pakistan.
Willey is part of a 16-man squad for the five-match series in the UAE in December.
n Squad: Vince (captain), Ansari, Ball, Billings, Clarke, Bell-Drummond, Foakes, Gregory, Jordan, Malan, Mills, Parry, Topley, Westley, Willey, Whiteley.