ONE lad in the Yorkshire team has been doing my head in this season – and his name in Tim Bresnan.
Brez keeps telling me he’s scored more runs than me, and I keep telling him he’s paid to bowl.
It’s all in good fun, of course, as he’s also my brother-in-law.
And he fully deserves to have the family bragging rights.
Bressy’s form with the bat this year has been quite incredible.
He’s really starting to fulfil his potential.
A look at the stats shows that he’s scored 512 runs in the County Championship and is averaging 64.
He’s had a couple of hundreds as well – including a career-best 169 not out the other week against Durham.
As a bat, Bressy’s always looked good in the nets.
He’s always looked like a proper player.
But he’s never really had a proper run in county cricket to tot up his scores.
He’s been away bowling for England and just not had the chance.
Now he’s starting to come to the party and, if England don’t come calling again, he can have a long and successful career at Yorkshire.
So much so, I reckon he could carry on playing for the next 10 years.
He’s 30 now, and I’ve told him that if he’s smart and looks after his body, he could play until he is 40 years old.
He could play a Mark Ealham-type role for us and be that fourth or fifth seamer who bats No.6.
He could do that job for a long time to come.
Of course, Bres’ has already had a long and successful career.
It’s easy to forget that he made his Yorkshire debut back in 2001 when he was just 16 years old.
His workload throughout his career has been a hell of a lot.
I think he’s only bowled something like 700 overs less than Ryan Sidebottom, who is seven years older.
The thing with Bres’ is, he loves playing cricket.
He loves playing for Yorkshire and still has that hunger.
Sometimes, players struggle to come down when they’ve played for England.
It’s hard for them when they’ve lost their international place.
But I don’t see Bres’ losing his appetite any time soon.
On the contrary, you can tell how much he loves it by the way he’s enjoying his batting.
The more Bres bats, the less time he has to bowl – I’m sure that’s the way he thinks about it!
As I say, his ability with the bat has never been in doubt, but when he was playing Test cricket he was in-and-out of the team and then, in one-day international cricket, you don’t get the same number of hits.
Now, I think he’s just benefiting from playing regular cricket and we’re starting to see the best of his batting.
Bres’ has also scored runs this season in T20, and there’s no getting away from the fact that we’ve been disappointing in that competition as a team.
We’ve been too inconsistent, and it just seems to have been the same as in previous years.
When we were successful in 2012, we had Mitchell Starc, Moin Ashraf and Azeem Rafiq performing well with the ball, and all their season was based around T20.
We need to find a way of doing that again, because it’s hard to manage bowlers’ workloads when they’re playing in the Championship as we want to look after them, and I can’t ask the bowlers to practice any more than they are doing.
When you’ve played a T20 game, it feels like a day in the dirt anyway because of the intensity of it, and it’s a situation we need to address.
It’s back to the Championship on Sunday when we play Worcestershire at Scarborough, and we’ve got a healthy lead at the top of the table.
But the lads certainly aren’t getting ahead of themselves and it’s just a case now of focusing on each and every game.
No-one’s talked really about winning the Championship – just what game’s coming up next and how are we going to win it.
We’re a pretty experienced bunch, and we recognise that you can’t win every day’s cricket.
They are going to be off-days throughout the course of the season, and it’s how you bounce back that’s the most important thing.
***Andrew Gale’s column is in association with Blacks Solicitors***