YOUNG batsman Jack Leaning is hoping 2013 is the year that sees him make major strides into Yorkshire’s first team.
The 19-year-old joined his home town club York Cricket Club earlier this month, but is looking to feature more heavily in the Headingley county’s season, particularly with the likes of Jonny Bairstow, Tim Bresnan and Joe Root in the England set-up.
Leaning said: “It all depends on my performances.
“I need to get a good start to the season in order to get to the first team. I’ve been netting since November and I have been progressing well.”
Last year proved to be a big season for the Heworth teenager. He made his Tykes debut in a CB40 match against tournament runners-up Warwickshire, scoring 11 runs from 22 balls in a losing effort.
Leaning later went on to win Yorkshire’s academy player of the year award, joining previous winners such as England batsman Root and spinner Azeem Rafiq.
Said Leaning: “I was happy with how I played last year and winning the award was a big honour for me.
“My debut wasn’t as big a step up for me as you would think. I felt comfortable at that level.”
The highly-rated son of former York City goalkeeper Andy is also looking forward to starting the season at Clifton Park as well as the Yorkshire second XI.
The right-hander averaged just over 42 for the county second string last year, scoring 11 half-centuries with a highest score of 93 and will look to continue that form.
Asked about the move to reigning Solly Sports Yorkshire ECB County Premier League champions York, Leaning stated: “They have been asking me to join for a few years now and I am really looking forward to it.
“I know most of the lads anyway and they are a good bunch. I am also really looking forward to working with head coach Jim Love. It’s a decent league and they have a very good pitch there.”
York have been Yorkshire League champions for the last six years and start the defence of their title at Scarborough on Saturday, April 20.
York are hoping Leaning will be a mainstay of their batting line-up, but secretary Nick Kay has said: “If he gets called up to the full county team, we will lose him but we will be happy to lose him.”