YORKSHIRE all-rounder Tim Bresnan has received plenty of confidence boosters over the past couple of weeks – which is quite an achievement during one of the wettest mid-summers in living memory!
The 22-year-old fast bowler and middle-order batsman first learned that he was the only Yorkshire player to be included in the provisional England squad of 30 for the World Twenty20 Cup which is to be played in South Africa in September.
Then he was selected for the England Lions (formerly England A) team for the three-day match against India at Chelmsford and he responded to that challenge by thrashing a career-best score of 126 not out off 166 balls with 16 fours and a six.
And finally, Bresnan walked into the Yorkshire offices at Headingley Carnegie on Monday afternoon and added two years to his contract, so keeping him with the Tykes until at least the end of the 2009 season.
As far as England are concerned, Bresnan seems to keep disappearing off their radar, only to return as something of an afterthought and it is to be hoped that his potential is now recognised rather more permanently.
Bresnan is a model young professional with a modest bearing which makes it easier for him to be overlooked if he goes through a quiet patch with either bat or ball.
But, despite his tender years, he has already developed into one of Yorkshire’s key performers and it would be wise of England to groom him a little more carefully in the future than they have in the past.
He made his international debut when he was called up for England’s disastrous one-day series against Sri Lanka last summer when they received a 5-0 drubbing.
Bresnan played in four of the matches and claimed only two wickets at a cost of 169 runs, figures which probably led the England management into thinking at the time that he was not up to it.
But it was the senior players and the coaching staff who were largely responsible for England’s extremely poor showing, certainly not a youngster standing on the threshold of his international career.
Despite the punishment he received from Sri Lanka’s free-scoring batsmen, Bresnan insisted that he had learned a great deal from his experiences but soon after the series was over he went down with a lumbar stress fracture and missed five Yorkshire Championship matches, only returning at the very end of the season.
Bresnan toured Bangladesh last winter with England A but was then not named in the country’s 25-strong development squad which suggested he was not uppermost in their thoughts. Yet he has figured strongly for Yorkshire in the first half of this season, starting with a maiden first class century against Surrey at The Oval as well as chipping in with 20 wickets at 26.8 runs apiece.
In addition, he was their joint leading wicket-taker in the Friends Provident Trophy with eight dismissals and he was a reliable performer in the group stages of the Twenty20 Cup.
Although he is still in the early stages of his career, Bresnan has already built up a record with Yorkshire which few have surpassed at his age.
Before the start of yesterday’s Championship game against Surrey at Headingley Carnegie, he had collected 118 first class wickets for his county and scored over 1,100 runs, which is a pretty impressive achievement.
It would be nice to think that Bresnan has a successful international career ahead of him but if he does not make the big time then he could well build up an all-round record with Yorkshire that few others will be able to equal.
Time is certainly on his side and if he were to play regularly for Yorkshire over the next ten to 15 years there is every chance that he could become the ninth name in an exclusive list of all-rounders who have scored at least 10,000 runs and taken 500 or more wickets for the county.
The eight who have already achieved the feat are: Brian Close (22,650 runs and 967 wickets), Schofield Haigh (10,993 and 1,876), George Hirst (32,024 and 2,481), Ray Illingworth (14,986 and 1,431), the Hon F.S. Jackson (10,371 and 506), Roy Kilner (13,018 and 857), Wilfred Rhodes (31,075 and 3,598) and Ted Wainwright (11,092 and 998).