MATTHEW FISHER is aiming to be a thorn in the side of his fellow bowlers around the county circuit this summer as he improves his batting game.

The Yorkshire fast bowler wants to be a genuine all-rounder after showing glimpses of good form with the willow over the last 18 months.

At the end of 2017, he helped Steve Patterson rescue a County Championship match against Warwickshire at Emerald Headingley as the White Rose secured division one safety. Chasing a target of 175, Yorkshire slipped to 96-7 before Patterson and Fisher, who hit 15, shared a match-winning stand of 78.

Then, at Derby back in May, Fisher blasted an unbeaten 24 from just eight balls to chase down a target of 190 in a 50-over game reduced by rain to 24 overs a side.

Fisher knows all too well how frustrating lower-order runs can be.

In fact, they can drive bowlers crazy.

“It’s demoralising, it gets you mentally,” said the 21-year-old.

“Cricket’s a massive game of mental battles. The longer you can stay positive as a bowler, the better you are.

“You start doing things that you didn’t think your personality is capable of when you’re 20 overs into your spell at the end of a day.

“You start walking around like Jack Brooks does and try to be a ferret or a duck as he’s walking from fine-leg. He occupies himself by doing that.

“You are mentally and physically drained, and it’s frustrating when you think it’s nearly over and someone comes in and carries it on for another two or three hours.

“That’s why I want to do it - you can do it to the people who’ve done it to you.”

Fisher, who is yet to record a first-team 50 and has a high score of 37, is currently on the mend following a stress reaction injury in his back at the end of the most recent season.

He has been doing all the fitness work alongside his team-mates at Emerald Headingley along with working hard on his batting in the nets.

“You always want to be improving,” he continued. “For bowlers, if you can concentrate on your batting quite a bit, it gives you that extra push when it comes to selection.

“If you’re up against someone who can’t bat, they’re going to choose you if your bowling is pretty similar. That’s basically how I see it.

“Last year I contributed quite a bit in white ball with the bat, knocking off scores. Hopefully I can do that in the red ball as well and, going forwards, try to score 50s and even 100s.

“You see a lot of Championship or Test matches come down to lower-order runs. That happened a lot last season with some low scores about.

“If you can push your score on another 50 or 100 runs from eight and nine downwards and keep them out in the field, it’s pretty demoralising.

“When I was under-13s and 14s, I was opening the batting for the age-groups. My bowling came on from 13 onwards.

“I played the age groups with Tommo (Jordan Thompson), and we always used to open the batting or bat in the top three. We still talk about that, saying how nice it would be to get back up the order.

“In the red ball stuff, especially, I try and play as if I’m an actual batter. I’m always asking questions of Adam Lyth and Gary Ballance about how they play spin and scoring areas, stuff like that.

“I try and treat it as if I’m a top-five batter because, if you are in at seven and eight, there’s still time to bat. You don’t have to get your runs quickly. You can build partnerships.”

Fisher will have a scan on his back in early January to determine when he can return to bowling. He is fully expecting to be fit for the start of the new season.