Andrew Gale believes Yorkshire fully deserve their place at top of the LV= County Championship table at the halfway stage in the season. But the Yorkshire skipper insists there is no secret to their success.
Tomorrow’s clash with Surrey at Headingley represents the county’s ninth Division One fixture, which they head into with an 8.5 point lead over second-placed Durham.
Their last outing brought a resounding 10-wicket win over Middlesex at Lord’s last week, their fourth win to add to three draws and a defeat, in which Gale scored another century to add to his double at Scarborough.
He said: “I’m pleased with where we are at, but nothing’s won by the end of June. I keep saying to the boys that there’s no hidden formula to the way we’re winning games. All we’ve been doing is hammering the basics. If we keep doing that, everything else will look after itself.
“If you’d have said at the halfway stage we’d be top of the league, I would have bitten your hand off. The cricket we’ve played means we deserve to be there.”
Surrey head into this match in a state of flux having lost three and drawn five of their eight matches. They sit third bottom of the table and only eight points above the drop zone.
They also sacked coaching duo Chris Adams and Ian Salisbury earlier this week, and former England captain Alec Stewart has been appointed as their interim coach for the foreseeable future.
Still, they will certainly not be underestimated, especially given they will be able to field current and former Test duo Kevin Pietersen and Ricky Ponting. Pietersen is playing his first match in three months following a bruised right knee, and he will be hoping to prove fitness and form ahead of next month’s Ashes.
Gale described Ponting as “one of my idols”, and he continued: “We won’t be changing the way we play because Kevin Pietersen and Ricky Ponting are playing.
“My message to the players would be ‘when you wanted to become a professional cricketer, you’d have wanted to test yourselves against the best. Now’s your opportunity’. They’ll be nice scalps to get for someone.
“They’re only human, and it can only take one ball. Headingley can be a tough place to bat at times, so we’ll have to see.”
Yorkshire hammered Middlesex, who they play at Headingley in today’s YB40, last week, so head into their latest clash in buoyant mood.
Gale will also be able to call upon the services of fit again Gary Ballance after his virus and Jack Brooks following his thumb injury, and he added: “A lot of people have said we were down to the bare bones with injuries, but I never really saw it like that.
“I was never negative or pessimistic about the selection in any way. I knew Alex Lees deserved his opportunity because he’s been in good form in the second team, and you know what you’re going to get with Liam Plunkett.
“Although there were a few important players missing, I was confident because someone’s always stepping up this year. To win by lunch on the last day was a fantastic effort.”