Yorkshire ready to take on ‘role model’ responsibility, says Matthew Fisher
England bowler Matthew Fisher said he and his Yorkshire team-mates were ready to shoulder their ‘role model’ responsibilities as the club tried to move on from crisis in cricket.
After six months of damaging historical revelations and behind-the-scenes turmoil sparked by Azeem Rafiq’s whistleblowing tale of racial harassment and bullying at Headingley, a semblance of normality will resume when they open their LV=Insurance County season Championship at Gloucestershire on Thursday.
All eyes will be on the White Rose as a new era led by Lord Kamlesh Patel, Darren Gough and Ottis Gibson takes its next big step and Fisher accepts there will be an increased level of scrutiny.
But fresh off winning his first West Indies Test cap, the 24-year-old designer is ready to lead the way as well as attack.
“Will there be extra eyes on us? Potentially. Is it deserved? Maybe, yeah. But I just hope we can focus on being good role models on and off the pitch,” he told PA news agency.
“Everyone in the sport, with what’s happened, now has a responsibility to develop the game and make it a game for everyone. The group we have in Yorkshire are now together on this and wants to do it. I feel like in the very recent past, it was like that.
“I feel we have a group that is ready to be educated, ready to change. I got into cricket because of my role models and as players we hope children from all walks of life can see each of us as a role model. I believe that when you get a contract as a professional cricketer, it’s not just the role of the game that’s your responsibility: it’s how you are with the fans, how you are with the media, how you are with the staff and the players around you.
“You are not just a professional cricketer. We play this game because we love it and the more people can enjoy it, the better.
Fisher has been tipped as a potential England star since making his White Rose debut as a 15-year-old wonderkid in 2013 and finally earning his cap in Barbados last month.
He got off to a dream start, taking the wicket of John Campbell with his second delivery in international cricket, but is under no illusions he succeeded after finishing with match figures of one for 71 on dead ground.
The York-born speedy has had a glimpse of what it takes and knows his performances in County will determine what happens next.
“I was talking to Zak Crawley and he was like ‘You think you want this before you play for England, but once you’ve done it you’ll want it so much more’. That sums it up perfectly.” , Fisher said.
“Even two or three days after the test I was thinking ‘How can I get stronger physically, how can I play better’. I’ve already had meetings with bowling coach Jon Lewis about the increased use of the fold.I remember learning so much when I first started in first class and it was the same with my first test.
“I learn fast and I give myself the best chance with the way I eat and drink, I do the right things. I just need to play, gain experience and learn. I do am at 22 first class games now, but can’t wait to get to 50 and see how much better I will be then.
“Hopefully I am a better bowler for this experience, having played Test Players for a month. There are times in the nets where you think you’re playing 70mph because of the way they’re playing you.
“They can make you feel really sluggish and then you start getting a few plays and misses, play a few, get them lbw. I hope I have crossed a threshold. Now it’s about winning games for Yorkshire because that’s what will see me picked.
Fisher’s chances of being called up for the first Test of the summer, against New Zealand on June 2, also hinge on whether or not England choose to recall James Anderson and Stuart Broad. The record-breaking veterans were controversially overlooked in the Caribbean in a nod to the team’s future, but both harbor hopes of regaining their place.
“That would be fair enough. I’ve always said that I wouldn’t ‘replace’ them. Even comparing them is a lack of respect towards them.
“If Jimmy Anderson is the all-around bowler, and I would say he is, that’s how close I can get in my career. I won’t be here at 24, of course not.
“I just want to push myself as far as possible. Some people may have more talent than me, some people may be better than me, but I want to do everything I can with what I have. Whether it’s one test or a hundred tests, I just want to get the best out of myself. »