Rob Yates is delighted to be back in the first team and keen to build on his excellent innings in Warwickshire's eight-wicket win over Gloucestershire in their first Royal London Cup group game.
Yates’ fluent 87 (65 balls) underpinned an opening stand of 152 with Dom Sibley which pretty much settled the match after the Bears’ bowlers did well to restrict the home side to 264 in excellent batting conditions at Cheltenham.
It was a confident return by the 22-year-old after a spell in the Second XI following a loss of form in red-ball cricket. He averages 48.33 in List A cricket having passed 50 in five of his nine innings in the format so far – and is keen to further enhance those impressive figures in the rest of the RLC, starting against Surrey at The Oval on Sunday.
“It was nice to spend some time in the middle at Cheltenham,” Yates said. “It was a good pitch and I really enjoyed batting out there with Dom. We managed to put together a good stand and it was interesting to think what total we might have reached if we had batted first.
“I do feel confident. It has been a tough few months but I have kept my head down and kept working hard and have ‘found me’ again. I’m looking forward to the next few weeks and the rest of this competition. I like the 50-over format. It is a good mix between the other two and you often get quite nice pitches in it.
“It was great for us to start with a good win and a strong team performance at Cheltenham and that is the way we want to play our cricket. The addition of a world-class player like Krunal Pandya to our squad set out how we want to go about this tournament. We’re going to try our best to win it.”
Yates’ timing and strokeplay on Tuesday lit up the College Ground and he also provided a champagne moment in the field with a fine catch to end the defiance of Gloucestershire’s Zafar Gofar.
Yates raced round from long on to complete the catch despite team-mate Kai Smith approaching from mid-wicket and eyeing up the chance, ready to strike, like former Walsall FC hard man Caesar ‘Chopper’ Jenkyns sizing up a tackle.
“I’m not sure the wind helped us there,” Yates said. “I did call but obviously not loudly enough and I could still see Kai coming so I was thinking once I caught it just be ready for the tackle! It would definitely have been a yellow card…”