ANDREW GALE has paid tribute to 400-wicket star Steve Patterson as the Yorkshire CCC captain prepares to return to action at Scarborough this weekend.

Patterson, the 35-year-old seamer, has sat out the majority of the T20 Blast, playing only one North Group game.

But he will be back in the thick of the action when the Specsavers County Championship resumes against Nottinghamshire at North Marine Road, starting on Sunday.

Patterson is in his first full season as captain and last month took the 400th wicket of his first-class career during the victory over pre-game leaders Somerset at Emerald Headingley.

Coach Gale said: “I’ve got the ultimate admiration for Patto because he squeezes every ounce of ability out of his body that he can do.

“He perhaps wouldn’t have expected himself to get 400 first-class wickets at the start of his career, but he’s a smart cricketer who knows his limitations. And he sticks to them.

“He just bowls the same delivery with the red ball over and over and over again, and the batsman usually cracks before he does. He’s very skilful.

“Also, particularly this season, his captaincy has been absolutely outstanding.

“He’s made some really big decisions with a young team, and the boys follow him on the pitch.”

Gale, a two-time Championship winning captain in 2014 and 2015, continued: “He’s a very different captain to me. He’s not as emotional as I was and is a bit more calculated.

“We probably suit each other in terms of a captain and coach relationship in that respect.

“He’s a bright guy who knows the game inside out and is a good speaker in the dressing room.

“He would never ask anyone to do a job that he wouldn’t do himself.”

Miserly with the ball and useful down the order with the bat, Patterson has become somewhat of a talismanic figure for the White Rose in Championship cricket.

This season, he has claimed 30 wickets with a best of 5-81 and added 204 runs, including one fifty.

Gale said: “I think Patto’s role has slightly changed of late.

“He’s probably getting a few more wickets this year because he’s been bowling with the new ball a bit more and is bowling at the tail as well.

“He’s previously been in the shadows of some strike bowlers in front of him in the past, the likes of Ryan Sidebottom and Jack Brooks.

“Before that, it would be the likes of Darren Gough, who would always bowl at the tail when you can pick up a couple of cheaper wickets. Against Somerset, in our last game, he picked up a few at the end.”

Yorkshire head into the clash with Notts third in the Division One table with four wins from 10 games, including a win over Surrey at Scarborough at the start of last month.