ONE thing Ali Maiden has learnt in his first few days of working with Joe Root is that he will have to be good at making brews.

Root is back with Yorkshire ahead of their LV= Insurance County Championship trip to Chelmsford tomorrow (11am), where Essex await.

It is the 31-year-old’s first appearance since he resigned as England’s Test captain last month and his first time working with the county’s new coaching staff, including batting coach Maiden.

The pair first worked together in training during last week’s home draw against Kent at Headingley, Yorkshire’s second stalemate of 2022 to add to the opening round win at Gloucestershire.

“I had one session with Joe last week, and he was amazing really,” said Maiden.

“I threw at him for an hour and we chatted about his batting. Then we had a competition, which he set, and the loser had to make a brew for the other person.

“I lost, and we sat together for about an hour again and chatted about batting.

“He was fantastic and just as enthusiastic about it as I was. He’s a legendary bloke and a legendary player.”

Of the competition, Maiden explained: “It was a challenge of his decision making and execution.

“It was first to 10. If he gets one wrong or miscues one, I get a point. If he executes his shot correctly, he gets the point. He smashed me. The first one was close - it was his first net. But then we had a double or quits and he won that. I don’t think I got a point.”

A couple of months into his new role as one of Ottis Gibson’s two assistants coaches, effectively the club’s batting coach, and Maiden is in his element.

“Anybody who loves batting, or coaching batting, this is the best place in the world to be at the minute because you have young guys who are scoring loads of runs and senior players who are very experienced,” he said.

“We’re lucky because the batters are making us look good. They are playing well.

“Mala and Brooky are playing exceptionally good cricket.

“What we are seeing is guys who, because they’re playing well, are hungry to make the most of it. That’s what good batters do.”

Harry Brook twice, George Hill and Dawid Malan have all posted centuries in the three games so far, making the decision over who Root replaces an incredibly difficult one for Gibson and his management team.

The totals posted, the number of centuries scored, makes it plain to see there have been some flat batting pitches produced in the early stages of the Championship season across the country.

There hasn’t been a great deal of assistance for the bowlers in Yorkshire’s games at Bristol, Northampton and Headingley, especially spin.

With prolific off-spinner Simon Harmer in Essex ranks as one of their two overseas players alongside Australian seamer Mark Steketee, it would be a surprise if Yorkshire’s batters don’t face a different challenge to what they have done so far in 2022.

“You would have thought so,” accepted Maiden. “But we have a nice combination of left and right-handers, which helps against spin.”

Seamers Ben Coad, Matthew Fisher and Dom Leech have all been sidelined with injuries in recent weeks. Haris Rauf will miss this week having sustained a side problem against Kent.

The possibility of utilising the loan market has been discussed, though Coad will travel south in the hope of playing his first game of the season after a groin injury.

There has been obvious frustration at narrowly missing out on two victories against Northamptonshire and Kent on each of the last two Sundays, the county having to settle for dominant draws.

But Maiden added: “I think we’re really close. It’s coming. Winning is a habit isn’t it. You get over the line one game and things generally click.

“We were unlucky on Sunday. I think we’d have won it with Haris available, and I think we’d have won it had we played the full duration. That’s sport.

“Hopefully things go our way - the weather and the pitch and everything - and we can get a win (this week).”

Fourth-placed Yorkshire (51 points) face an Essex side one place behind them in Division One, eight points adrift and having played once more.

They have drawn both home games against Kent and Northants, beaten Somerset away and lost at Warwickshire.

Tom Westley’s side were made to follow-on in last week’s draw at home to Northants.