CRICKET: Exciting times as the county season heats up, but there's more to strive for

Oxford Mail: Liam Plunkett must be close to a recall for England after a superb start to the season. Here he is celebrating a wicket against Durham. In case you’re wondering, that handsome chap strolling in from the boundary is yours truly Liam Plunkett must be close to a recall for England after a superb start to the season. Here he is celebrating a wicket against Durham. In case you’re wondering, that handsome chap strolling in from the boundary is yours truly

IT’S been a typically-hectic couple of weeks on the county cricket circuit, with plenty of ups and downs on a personal note.

Last week, Yorkshire had the big clash against Warwickshire at Headingley.

We know at home we are a menacing side and just needed to get the killer instinct into our game a little more.

Warwickshire included Ian Bell and Chris Woakes, while we had Joe Root, Gary Ballance and Tim Bresnan, all made available by England.

On paper both teams looked very strong and it was a fantastic game to be a part of – mainly because we came out on top and in the end won at a canter!

I finished with match figures of 7-76 and it’s always nice to contribute to a win.

Another decent haul, including the prize scalp of Bell, restored my confidence and proved to myself again what I can be capable of when on song. I just need to keep the consistency.

It was another game which also confirmed to me that Liam Plunkett has to play for England again soon.

That’s not just based on his incredible form with bat and ball, but he has to be the quickest bowler in the country right now, getting over 90mph regularly.

That game came hot on the heels of the trip north to play the defending champions Durham in front of the Sky cameras.

Everybody thought it would be the typical spicy seamer-friendly wicket you get at Durham.

But in fact it was the near opposite and after a spicy first couple of sessions, it just got flatter and slower as each day wore on.

It’s very frustrating for a bowler, especially as we played all the cricket in the match to keep Durham on the back foot and they had to fight very hard to earn a draw.

The pleasing aspect from our point of view was that yet again we bossed a game for large amounts of time.

We were able to put the opposition under pressure by scoring a large first innings score and then trying to bowl them out twice.

We got close to doing just that, but ultimately had to settle for a draw and took away a decent points haul.

Iwasn’t happy with my performance. It just didn't click for me and in trying to compensate for good form, I maybe tried too hard and felt I rushed my action too much.

It was similar to the second innings at Middlesex in the previous game, which is extremely frustrating.

It just confirms to me that consistency has to improve if I'm to kick on and play a higher level and be successful.

Having said that, when I did get it right I felt threatening and got Scott Borthwick with a decent short ball.

I then enticed a nick off Kumar Sangakkara, which the umpire didn’t see or hear an edge.

Then I had another nick get dropped off a tough chance in the slips.

It’s hard enough trying to get someone of Sangakkara’s class out once let alone three times!

  • WITHIN a couple of days of beating Warwickshire in the championship last week, we we got back into Natwest T20 Blast mode.

Our first game of the campaign was against my old side, and reigning champions, Northamptonshire.

But even with our England boys we couldn’t contrive a win.

We didn’t play anywhere near our best and fought back to post a decent total after a poor start.

It was very disappointing, especially as you like to start the campaign strongly, but we will have to bounce back strongly against Warwickshire tonight in front of the TV cameras.

Despite the result, the Northants game had two consecutive balls of madness involving me.

First, I took an incredibly steepling catch at fine leg which I did well to get anywhere near.

Our 12th man ran on with the drinks and shouted he’d just lost his mortgage on me taking the catch, which shows how much faith he had for me!

‘Safe hands Brooks’ I always say, though.

With the next ball, I threw the stumps down and ran out Kyle Coetzer, which sent me on a merry run, skip and dance about the pitch, which got Headingley’s Western Terrace all excited.

As a fan of the club it disappoints me to see Beano leave.

I wish him all the best for his future at his next club, but I fear Oxford need to sign a goalscorer or two of his quality for next season.

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