Anthony McGrath, a two-time former Yorkshire captain, was appointed in the build-up to the 2014 season as a player mentor, a newly created role, with his hands on coaching duties having increased since.
The ex-England all-rounder, a hugely popular figure at Headingley, returned to the club’s payroll just a year after retiring as a player. He was unable to continue a distinguished career following a thumb injury.
Upon the announcement of his appointment, a club statement explained: “Yorkshire will utilise the services of their former captain in a number of areas, including age-group coaching, mentoring professional players, facilitating change from cricket to the workplace and the reintegration of younger former players to the club.”
In his playing career, McGrath returned 14,698 runs, including 35 centuries, and 134 wickets in all first-class cricket.
1993 – Aged 17, McGrath made his Second XI debut for Yorkshire in a Championship match against Sussex at the Hullen Edge ground, Elland, in August, scoring 33 in his only innings. Made 87 in the same competition against Kent at Folkstone as an opener a couple of weeks later.
1994 – Having cemented his place at the top of the order, he scored his maiden century at second-team level in the Championship, 125 in a ten-wicket win over Kent at Todmorden in June. Played a one-day international and Test for England under 19s against India at Cardiff and Taunton in August. India’s side included VVS Laxman and England’s Marcus Trescothick, Michael Vaughan, Chris Schofield, Vikram Solanki and Chris Silverwood, all who have played full international cricket.
1995 – Toured the Caribbean with England’s under 19s in January and February, scoring 133 as an opener in a drawn third Test at the Bourda ground in Georgetown. Continued his impressive form for Yorkshire seconds at the start of the summer before debuting in the County Championship (as an opener) against Northamptonshire at Sheffield in May. Scored 12 and 30 in defeat. Made his List A debut in a B&H Cup quarter-final defeat against Worcestershire at Headingley a week later, scoring two. Scored 84 in his second Championship appearance against Somerset at Taunton at the start of June, but could not prevent defeat. Maiden senior ton (106) came in a win against the touring West Indians in a 40-over match at Scarborough in early September. The tourists included Brian Lara in their side. Scored a century for England A against a Pakistan Cricket Board XI in Lahore in November.
1996 – Maiden Championship ton came in a draw against Kent at Canterbury in May, a match which finished in a draw. He followed 40 in the first innings with 101 in the second. He finished the summer with 999 first-class runs from 19 matches, including two hundreds. Toured Australia with England A in November and December. Took his maiden first-class wicket in a four-day clash with Queensland at the Gabba.
1997 – Scored four hundreds in Yorkshire colours through the summer, both in List A and first-class cricket.
1998 – Started bowling more regularly for Yorkshire during the latter half of the summer.
2001 – Contributed 417 runs from nine Championship matches to Yorkshire’s glorious title success of that summer, including 116 in a defeat against Surrey at the Oval in early September. By this time, he had slotted into the middle order.
2002 – Scored over 600 List A runs in a summer for the second time (first, 1999) as Yorkshire won the Cheltenham and Gloucester Trophy, including an important unbeaten 46 to help his side over the line in the final against Somerset at Lord’s in late August. He topped Yorkshire’s Championship bowling averages with 18 wickets at 27.66, but could not prevent relegation.
2003 – Was appointed Yorkshire’s captain ahead of the domestic summer as a replacement for Darren Lehmann. An impressive start to the season meant that, with England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff – a good friend of McGrath’s – injured, the national selectors came calling. Scored 69 from number seven in the order on his Test debut against Zimbabwe at Lord’s in late May, which England won by an innings and 92 runs. Also followed that with three second-innings wickets. Added 81 in the second Test at Durham at the start of June (proved to be a career best at that level) before debuting in one-day international cricket against Pakistan later that month. Played two Tests against South Africa in late July/early August, which unfortunately proved to be his last of four. He scored 850 first-class runs in all that summer, his best tally in a summer since 1996.
2004 – Played the last of his 14 one-day internationals against India at Lord’s in early September. Also took his first and only five-wicket haul in first-class cricket in a Championship win at Derby (5-39) in July.
2005 – This proved to be the best Championship season of McGrath’s career, yielding 1,425 runs from 16 matches, including five centuries, as Yorkshire were promoted back to Division One.
2006 – Scored a one-day best 148 opening the batting in a Pro40 win against Somerset at Taunton in late August, while following up a second 1,000 Championship-run season on the bounce (1,293 from 15 matches). Unfortunately, things briefly turned sour for McGrath at Yorkshire in the autumn, with him unhappy at the direction of the club and turning down a three-year contract as a result.
2007 – Only the return of Martyn Moxon and Darren Gough to the club persuaded him to stay at Headingley on the eve of the summer and he scored 931 Championship runs, including a career best 188 not out at that stage, against Warwickshire at Edgbaston in mid-July. Earlier in the summer – early June – he scored successive scores of 100 in one-day and four-day cricket against Durham and Kent.
2008 – He returned a solid summer with the bat in all forms, being particularly impressive in Twenty20. He scored 392 runs from nine matches in that form, and there were even calls for an England recall. He captained the side regularly when Gough missed matches due to injuries and rest.
2009 – Having taken over the captaincy from the retired Gough, he struggled for form aside from a brilliant career best 211 against Warwickshire at Edgbaston in early May and Yorkshire only just avoided relegation. He resigned from the captaincy, with Andrew Gale taking over ahead of 2010.
2010 – He returned to form with the bat, scoring 1,219 runs in first-class cricket, topping four figures in the Championship for the third time, a haul which included three hundreds.
2011 – A number of injuries, including a debilitating bout of sciatica, heavily disrupted his summer, and he could do little to prevent Yorkshire being relegated to Division Two of the Championship.
2012 – As a result of his disappointments the previous summer, he found it hard to command a regular place in the Championship team and played little cricket in the limited overs formats. But he did score a brilliant unbeaten 76 against Gloucestershire at Scarborough to secure a crucial victory in late August and followed it up with the last of his 35 first-class centuries in a win over Derbyshire at Headingley. Ended his playing career against Essex at Chelmsford in September as Yorkshire won promotion.
2013 – Officially confirmed his retirement from the game ahead of the summer. But, having continued his development as a coach, helped out at Yorkshire on occasions and worked in the media.
2014 – Officially returned to the club in January as a player mentor.
2015 – With the departure of Second XI coach Richard Dawson to Gloucestershire ahead of the season, a reshuffle saw McGrath’s coaching duties increase, meaning he was around the first team more regularly as they retained the Championship title. McGrath says his dream job would be Yorkshire’s head coach one day.