After one of the busiest season in living memory, which saw the Yorkshire players finish their campaign in the sunshine of Durban in late October, the first team squad are back into the swing of pre-season training at Headingley. Skipper Andrew Gale feels his teammates can replicate last season’s heroics.
“We’ve had a pretty tough start,” said Gale, who led the Tykes to the top flight of Championship Cricket and reach the T20 Champions League finals in South Africa.
“This is where your battle plans are drawn up and where you sweat blood and tears to get yourself ready for a busy season ahead. We are slightly behind where we were last year due to our involvement in the Champions League, which extended the season by a further six weeks. Normally we are back in November but we didn’t return to training until December.
“The fitness sessions under Tom (Tom Summers, Strength and Conditioning coach) are going well and he really makes you work hard and just as important we are now honing in our skills with some quality net sessions.”
With the permanent signings of Andrew Hodd from Sussex, after a successful loan spell at the back end of last season and with the additions of Jack Brooks and Liam Plunkett to add bite to Yorkshire’s already strong bowling attack, Gale believes the squad is capable of being amongst the shake up to topple current County Champions Warwickshire in 2013.
”The biggest task for all counties is to have enough bowlers and more importantly keeping them fit and firing ant 100 per cent throughout the season. I feel we have recruited well in the off season with Liam (Plunkett) and Jack (Brooks) being added to the first team. We now have seven to eight frontline seamers that can come in and make a contribution in all forms of the game. The bowlers will be rotated at times and with everyone buying into that we will have an attack that will be amongst the best in the country.
“The three new lads have fitted in well. They all have a great attitude towards their training and you feel they have been around for ever. There is a strong unit at the club and everyone works hard to make sure that the unit grows stronger by the day.”
The White Rose will start the season with a busy programme, which sees nearly half of the Club’s 15 Championship matches coming to a conclusion in the first two months of the campaign. Gale, who is fast approaching 5000 runs in first-class cricket, is well aware that a good start in April and May can set you up for a grand finale in September.
“We have a busy start to the season with six Championship matches coming up in the first two months,” added Gale.
“It is important that we get off to a good start. In many ways if we can achieve three or four wins in the Championship by the end of May, we will be up there pushing to be Champions in September. It is easier said than done but with some strong application and a positive approach, which we showed last season, we can achieve our aim of trying to win the Championship in our 150th year.
“We have quite a few home games in the first couple of months of the season, we want to take advantage of that and make Headingley a fortress in Championship cricket. Getting off to a good start will give us momentum and confidence to drive on for the rest of the season. We have improved the squad’s quality and the group of players are good enough to compete with the best sides in the country.”
The months ahead are going to be gruelling with twists and turns around every corner, but with so much to look forward, in our 150th year, the Club will do everything in its power to bring success during this momentous year and the history and expectation is not lost on the Yorkshire captain.
“Being a player of this great club and the history and tradition the club stands for, we are well aware of the significance this year brings. To be in with a shout of trying to win the County Championship in our 150th year would be very special – it’s what fairy tales are written of.“