THE last few weeks have been pretty frustrating given I’ve been kept on the sidelines with a toe injury which hasn't really felt like anything major.

During the latter stages of the England Lions four-day game against India 'A' at Worcester, I ended up with a nasty cut on the top of my left big toe, which required stitches.

I’m back bowling now though and ready to play if selected.

I was over the moon with how I’d bowled for the Lions, taking three wickets in a big win, and was confident of playing a part for Yorkshire in the Roses Championship game.

But, when I came off, I saw some blood on my sock and then found this cut after I’d taken all the strapping off.

The only positive is that it hasn't been a significant muscle injury like I’ve had in the last few years.

Thankfully, the boys got the job done in that Championship game at Old Trafford to give us a bit of breathing space above the drop zone.

It wasn't easy given that Jordan Clark hat-trick and our low score in the first innings. But we found a way to win another close game - something we’ve done quite a bit in all formats this year.

We’re still searching for that perfect game.

I’m not saying we can now relax in the Championship - far from it.

But that result does mean we can at least concentrate on ourselves rather than look over our shoulders at other results.

I can’t wait to play some four-day cricket, and the Lions game was good for me to know I’ve still got it with the red ball after quite a lot of cricket with the white ball recently.

A few of the lads around that game were Test players, and it was good to see how they go about it.

I’ve played against Alastair Cook, but I’d never really spoken to him.

When you’re a team-mate, you get to know how they go about it day to day.

I couldn't quite believe how much time he gave to us all and how enthusiastic he was in team chats.

What stood out most was when we were all looking at scores around the counties, he knew exactly what everybody was doing. For example, there was an Essex lad in the England Under-19s, and he knew all about him.

His knowledge and passion for county cricket and below shone through.

He played beautifully in that game, getting 180.

He didn't get a score in the current Test at Edgbaston, but I think the signs are promising for him in this series.

It’s all about big scores for England to give the bowlers enough opportunity to get 20 wickets, and I can see Cook being at the heart of that.

Back to Yorkshire, and we have been a bit inconsistent in the T20 Blast so far with five wins and four defeats.

But it’s just about getting into that top four for the quarter-finals. From there, we have the players to thrive on the big occasion.

The odd defeat here and there is no bad thing because it makes you reassess your game and can make you more unpredictable to the opposition.

Winning games is good for confidence, but teams can often see your game plan much more - do you bat first or bowl first, what scores are they getting consistently?

One thing that’s stood out for me in the games I’ve seen is how the batters are going.

When they got 220 last Friday against Birmingham, it wasn't slogging. It was proper cricket. Good balance, clean hitting and reacting to the ball rather than premeditating.

Then, on Tuesday against Leicestershire, I was in a team chat before the game, and the message was consistency and trying to be clever.

That wicket we played on was two or three games old, so we knew 220 wasn't going to be the score. It was a 170-180 wicket, which we got through Kane Williamson and Tom Kohler-Cadmore.

The innings was timed perfectly, and I thought Tom showed a lot of experience in the way he milked around to get us a platform where we could step on the gas.

Kane speaks for himself. We all know what a great player he is, and that was a special knock.

The bowling also seemed to go to plan.

If we can get both sides of our game firing like that more often than not in these last six games, we have every chance of getting to Finals Day and winning it.

THIS time of year is always an interesting one in our changing room with the football season about to start.

There’s a bit of banter flying around between the Leeds fans, of which I’m one, and the Huddersfield fans in particular, while Adam Lyth always seems to get some stick for being an Arsenal fan who has never been to a game.

But the big thing we have is a fantasy football competition which Jared Warner has set up - £10 in and whoever wins gets the money.

There’s quite a lot of chat about that and our teams.

I reckon Dave Willey changes his team about three times a day. He’ll probably be at home now, mulling over whether to pick Pogba or not and whether Mourinho will get the best out of him

I’m a bit of a dubious Leeds fan if I’m honest in that I pick and choose when I like them.

I get so frustrated with them. I hear all the stuff about how great they were, and my older brother saw a bit of that. But I haven’t seen it.

Every season it’s a case of ‘We’re going to go up - hang on, we’ve finished 15th’.

But it seems quite positive with the signings we’ve brought in this summer. So we’ll see. I suppose you never know.