Yorkshire senior coach Jason Gillespie has given his full support to wicketkeeper Andy Hodd as the former Sussex gloveman prepares to deputise for the injured Jonny Bairstow.
It became clear on Wednesday evening that Bairstow had broken the ring finger of his left hand, an injury which may keep the Yorkshire and England player on the sidelines for as long as six weeks. However, Gillespie has no doubt about Hodd’s ability to fill the keeper’s berth.
“Andy Hodd is one of the best wicketkeepers in the country and for us there are no issues at all about him taking over,” he said.
“He’s a fantastic keeper and a great lad to have in the dressing-room.
“There was a specific reason we recruited him from Sussex. He’s a very good character, who is very solid with the bat in hand, and obviously his keeping is world-class.”
Hodd is virtually certain to commence his keeping duties in Sunday’s opening match of the County Championship season against Somerset at Taunton.
Gillespie had plenty of sympathy for England players Bairstow and Joe Root, who also has a hand injury.
“It is disappointing for those lads,” he said. “They’ve worked very hard, they’ve had their time away from cricket and unfortunately for Jonny it was a ball that went down legside that didn’t really bounce and he copped it on the finger.
“We don’t envisage that he’ll be out for very long, six weeks at the most, and we hope that he’s back a lot sooner than that.”
Gillespie was speaking as he watched his players complete their pre-season preparations with an eight-wicket win over Northants at Want-age Road yesterday.
Going into the last day with a 33-run first-innings lead, Yorkshire restricted their opponents to 176-5 declared before Gary Ball-ance’s batsmen knocked off the 144 required with little fuss.
Sessay’s teenage spinner Karl Carver bowled with impressive control to take 2-20 and Kane Williamson made 90.