PEARS Director of Cricket Steve Rhodes has encouraged Ross Whiteley to convert promising knocks into centuries as he expects ‘intense’ competition for middle order spots this summer.
Rhodes said the number five-six position is “up for grabs” and anticipates plenty of people trying to stake a claim during the build-up to the 2017 campaign.
Keeper Ben Cox showed his credentials to potentially bat higher up the order after two consistent years primarily in the number seven position.
But the likes of Whiteley and Tom Kohler-Cadmore also held down the positions with mixed fortunes last summer.
Whiteley gave a demonstration of his rich potential with a superb ton against champions Yorkshire at Scarborough two years ago but last season his highest score – achieved on three occasions – was 71.
“I think Ross would openly admit that in four-day cricket he had lots of opportunities.
He had a couple of good 70s but batting in the top six you’ve got to get those 100s,” he said.
“He would be disappointed he didn’t get those hundreds. As a top six batter, you are looking for at least two hundreds and he would have liked to convert those 70s.
“But he finished the season not in the team and the good thing for Ross, as well as a few of the other guys, is now they have got to battle to get back in that side.
“There will be plenty of competition for spots for early season batting positions.
“I know Ross as an individual and as a character and he will be determined to try and make sure his name is on that list.”
Rhodes added: “They are all capable and that is what is exciting and now they are all fighting against each other for spots.
“Some people like Tom Fell and Joe Clarke look like they have nailed their spots, the openers are in a good position, and that sort of number five-six slot is up for grabs.
“Coxy is always banging on the door to bat higher and he has got every good reason to bat higher.
“We’ve got plenty of people wanting to get that five-six spot,” he added.