WILL RHODES has reflected on the promising start to his Yorkshire career by stating that he is satisfied with his performance overall but disappointed that he has not yet made a hundred.
The 20-year-old has filled in for Adam Lyth at the top of the order while Lyth has been carrying the drinks for England in the West Indies.
Rhodes’s contributions to Yorkshire’s three Championship games in Lyth’s absence have been scores of 0 and 45 not out at Worcestershire, 41 at Nottinghamshire and 46 and 29 at home to Warwickshire.
Rhodes had hit 61 on his first-class debut just prior to the Championship programme in the champion county game against MCC in Abu Dhabi.
Throw in some useful bowling performances to boot – including three wickets against the MCC and also against Nottinghamshire – and it adds up to a solid start for a man who was born in Nottingham and educated in Cottingham.
“I’m pleased with how I’ve gone overall,” said Rhodes, who bats left-handed and bowls right-arm.
“I’ve had a few 40s and it would have been nice to have gone on and got a big score.
“I should really have got a hundred by now in my opinion, but I’m pleased with the way I’ve gone early season.
“I kept getting out in the 30s in the second team last year and now it’s the 40s in the firsts, so it’s something I needed to work on more mentally than anything else.”
The Yorkshire coaching staff will doubtless be pleased that Rhodes is disinclined to rest on his laurels.
He could find himself missing the next Championship game against Hampshire at Headingley on Sunday due to Lyth’s expected return.
However, there could be plenty more cricket ahead for him this summer – particularly with Lyth now in the box seat to open the batting in Test cricket following the self-imposed retirement of Jonathan Trott.
Not that Rhodes is counting his chickens before they have hatched.
“I’m not taking anything for granted just because I’ve played a few games in the first team already,” he said.
“It’s hard to kick on and keep your place in such a strong side, particularly with the England players coming back, and it’s still very early on in my career as well.
“All I wanted to do was to score some runs and try to put pressure on the senior lads.
“First-team cricket is what I want, whether I’m batting at the top of the order, in the middle order or wherever.”
Rhodes, who is also a highly promising pace bowler, is not yet sure of his best batting position.
One senses that he could do a good job in any role, and he considers himself to be a genuine all-rounder.
“I definitely want to keep the brand of an all-rounder going,” he added. “Probably at this stage, my batting is stronger at the minute but I’m working really hard on my bowling, too. I think I can do a job with the ball and be a fifth seamer in a really strong attack.
“The S&C (strength and conditioning) guys have worked hard with me during the winter, and my core is getting better and so is my power, and it’s just a case of developing my skills.”
Rhodes added: “I’ve felt in pretty good rhythm lately. I’ve always been a bit of a stop-start bowler, bowl 10 overs and then not bowl for a couple of weeks, so it’s all about bowling regularly and getting that rhythm.
“As for the batting, I’m not sure what my best position is really. I’ve not done much of it (opening) and, in the second team, I’ve batted No 4 or No 5 in the past two years. I just want to score runs for Yorkshire. That’s the big thing for me – scoring runs and taking my chance.”
That chance was given to Rhodes by Jason Gillespie, the Yorkshire first-team coach who immediately allayed any concerns the young man might have had at the start of the summer by telling him that he would open the batting while Lyth was absent no matter what.
It was a smart piece of man-management, and Rhodes believes it gave him the confidence to go out and perform. “It’s nice that Diz (Gillespie) has shown that faith in me,” said Rhodes.
“I didn’t start too well, to be honest, as I played a poor shot in the first innings at Worcester.
“But second innings I was really positive and it got my confidence up, and me and Leesy (Alex Lees) put on 100. There were probably a few nerves at Worcester, in all fairness, but I have managed to get a few decent scores since. I just need to keep working hard.”