Yorkshire CCC 2016: Patience key as Will Rhodes aims to make a telling impact with champions
AS breakthrough years go, 2015 could not have been more perfectly-timed for Yorkshire's Will Rhodes.
The Nottingham-born all-rounder signed junior professional forms at Headingley in 2013, but it would be two more years before the 21-year-old would make his first-class debut, scoring 61 and taking three wickets in Yorkshire’s Abu Dhabi victory over the MCC.
With opener Adam Lyth finally called away on England duty to face New Zealand and Australia, it was Rhodes whom the coaching staff saw enough in to see him snatched from his more familiar middle-order surroundings to be Alex Lees’s new partner at the start of the innings.
In all, Rhodes played a part in nine Championship games last summer and was 12th man at Lord’s when the second successive title was secured on the first day against Middlesex – a match Yorkshire lost.
The former England Under-19 captain has once again impressed in the early part of this season, particularly when scoring a first-class highest score of 95 against the MCC last month.
Normally, such form would be enough to earn the player a place in the starting line-up when the season begins proper at home to Hampshire at Headingley next week.
But, such is the talent at Yorkshire’s disposal – particularly with their England contingent available early on – Rhodes acknowledges he may have to be patient before building on his previous successes.
“I played a few more games in 2015 than perhaps, at the start of the season, I probably expected,” said Rhodes. “I thought my performances during the year were good and, hopefully, I can improve on them this year if I get the opportunity to play.
“At Yorkshire, the knowledge that if you perform well you will get your chance has always been there, most definitely.”
Having tasted success at such a young age, Rhodes is keen to ensure more follows this year – even if he has to wait a while longer before making a telling impact.
“The main aim for this year is to get back into the first team, which will be tough,” he added.
“In early-season, we have our England players back and, as everybody knows, it is a great side and a very hard side to get in.”