STEVE PATTERSON, the Yorkshire CCC captain who has gone from skipper to sir over the last couple of months, says he remains hopeful of a two-competition county programme this summer.

Patterson’s focus has gone from leading the White Rose’s summer bid for silverware to home-schooling and keeping his two young children occupied as well as maintaining fitness ahead of a potential return to cricket.

The 36-year-old seamer, who has claimed nearly 600 career wickets across all formats of the game, has also reiterated his praise for Britain’s army of key workers who are keeping the country as safe as possible during the ongoing crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Patterson first spoke of his admiration for those in an open letter to members of Yorkshire last month.

“It’s a very unique time for everybody, and to be honest I feel privileged to be in a position where I don’t have to put my health at risk in the same ways others are doing,” explained Patterson.

“I am able to spend some quality time at home with my young family, but I am in awe of work others are doing - the NHS staff and other people like that.

“It just makes you realise how fortunate we are.”

Patterson is currently on furlough leave from the club along with the majority of cricketing and office staff who are employed at Emerald Headingley.

He is maintaining fitness at home, where his two youngsters - four-years-old and six, are having to be educated and entertained.

“It’s been a case of a bit of home schooling with the eldest and trying to keep the youngest occupied,” Patterson continued.

“We have got into a bit of a routine.

“It was a challenge at first because, at that age, I don’t think they can really understand the situation and the perspective.

“To them it’s just another school day, albeit done from home.

“But we’re finding a way through it.

“It’s all been very different.

“This time of year I’d usually be away quite a lot. We should have been in India for two weeks on tour in March and then away a lot more from there onwards.”

Despite the nation heading into its seventh week of lockdown, the feeling of having no cricket to play or watch remains very strange.

“It is very difficult, but what’s helping me get my head around it all is the fact that we hadn’t started the season,” said Patterson. “When we downed tools so to speak, we were still a month away from our first game.

“Having played for so long, mentally I build myself up to the first game of the season.

“Although we’d got to India and had done a day’s training, we were still so far away from the start of the season and I hadn’t got my head around playing that first Championship game against Gloucestershire.

“So, my thoughts are that it hasn’t really been taken away from us because we hadn’t played that first game yet.

“It’s still a strange situation, you can’t get away from that, trying to do all your fitness and staying in shape on your own without knowing what you’re staying in shape for because we have no set date for playing cricket.

“I haven’t done any skills stuff, nothing other than staying as fit as I possibly can through running or cycling.

“Before we went into complete lockdown, I went into the gym at Headingley and picked up a few small items such as dumbbells and weights. A few of the other lads who live locally did that as well. We’re trying to make the best of the situation like everyone else.

“I put that note out to some of the members on the website recently and said, ‘When cricket does resume, it will be the players who look after themselves the best in this period and adapt quickest to the changes who are the most successful’.

“I truly believe that because there will come a time when they say, ‘Right, you’ve got two or three weeks before the season starts’.

“That’s got to be our goal as a group - to look after ourselves as best as we can to make sure that when we do get that call we’re ready to go and not playing catch-up.”

The ECB have stated there will be no cricket in England before at least July 1.

“My best case scenario from here would be to start on July 1, play half a Championship season in a way that brings meaningful competition alongside a T20 Blast,” said the club captain.

“There would be a good three months and enough time to make that work.

“Maybe you could play everybody once in the Championship.”

Former Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie has suggested a conference system of three groups of six before a knockout games as an alternative way of deciding this year’s county champions. That would require time for seven or eight rounds of fixtures.

“It would certainly be interesting, but it is completely different to everything we do now and would take away first and second division and everything you’ve worked for,” continued Patterson.

“The way I look at it, and it’s purely my view, is that if you played everybody once and maybe took out promotion and relegation, you could play for two different titles in both divisions.

“It’s not ideal, but whatever cricket we do play this year has to have good meaning to it.

“The Lancashire game at Scarborough, for example, is one all players and supporters were excited about. What a game would that be. And I’d love for us still to be able to play it. Whether we can or not, I don’t know. But it wouldn’t be the same at all behind closed doors or even just as a friendly.

“But until we get more news from the government, everything we say is just speculation.”

Prior to the summer, Patterson had effectively retired from playing T20 cricket to concentrate on captaining the four-day and one-day sides.

However, there is a chance that T20 is the only format of county cricket played this summer. So would Patterson be open to immediately reversing his T20 retirement?

“With all options on the table, you can’t rule anything out,” he added. “But, to be honest, I haven’t put a lot of thought into it. We’ll wait and see.”