Despite it only being the end of January, county cricketers up and down the country are getting ready for the new season.
Nottinghamshire all-rounder, Liam Patterson-White and his teammates have been hard at work preparing for the new season.
“After the season we get a bit of time off over October before doing a week of fitness,” Patterson-White told me.
“The early stages of pre-season are about to trying things out.
When we reach the New Year, we’ll have 2-3 more weeks of experimenting before moving onto the nitty-gritty, cementing skills and getting ready to be outside again.
It has come around fast, but I feel ready for it.”
The fixtures for the 2022 season were announced on January 20 and Nottinghamshire will start their season on April 7 with a trip to Hove to play Sussex.
Trent Bridge will be Notts’ home for pre-season this year and with the help of a marquee set-up just down the road at Lady Bay they will start training outdoors in a few weeks.
“It really gets ramped up when we go to the tent because it becomes very much a battle between the bowlers and the batsmen – it is really helpful for getting getting us ready for the first game.”
Last season Notts were one of the standout sides in the County Championship – having not won a game for the previous two years they mounted a title charge, only to fall away in the last two weeks of the season.
Patterson-White said: “Four-day cricket is very difficult to win as you have to play well for four days. We just thought we had to bide our time, do the basics well and wins would eventually come our way.
“That happened with the win over Derbyshire and that just got the ball rolling.”
In the four-day side Patterson-White was the senior spinner in a potent bowling attack led by seamers Luke Fletcher and Dane Paterson.
He said: “It’s always nice when you’ve got a plethora of top quality bowlers. Fletch and Dane were brilliant all season, for them to come out and both get more than 50 wickets is massive and takes the pressure off me.”
At the start of the season Nottinghamshire had Stuart Broad available as well. Broad is the second-highest wicket taker in the history of English Test cricket, but is just as committed to the county game.
“He doesn’t take his foot off the gas when it comes to the county game. He is a great person to be around, to pick his brains about fields and reading the game is always helpful.”
There were some personal highlights for Patterson-White to go alongside the team success. A maiden first-class hundred is a milestone in every players career, “I still can’t quite believe it to be honest.
I’m topsy turvy over whether I am a batter that bowls, or a bowler that bats, but it has given me a more self-belief going into the season knowing I can score hundreds.
Many players have fallen in the ‘nervous nineties’, “You can never replicate the feeling of hitting a single to mid-off and running for your life just so that you can get that one run, it’s something I have always wanted to do.”
He admitted that even watching it back with his dad he still gets nervous, despite knowing the outcome.
“It was one of the worst pitches I’ve ever played on to be honest,” is how he describes the pitch at Hampshire which saw him take career-best figures of 5-41.
“The majority of wickets last season were seamer friendly, so it was nice to get one that turned and then take wickets on it.”
Nottinghamshire find themselves in County Championship Division Two and after last season’s success promotion will be the goal.