Darren Gough has spoken of his delight at capturing three superstar overseas players as Yorkshire get set to tackle the 2022 summer.
The county have announced the capture of powerful New Zealand international batter Finn Allen for the second half of the Vitality Blast, to go with the previous signings of Pakistan duo Haris Rauf and Shadab Khan.
Allen, 22, arrives at Headingley having played Blast cricket for Lancashire last summer, when he was amongst the top 10 scorers in the competition with 399 runs in 13 games.
He is currently with David Willey at Royal Challengers Bangalore having also played in last summer’s Hundred with Birmingham Phoenix.
“I’m a big fan of Finn Allen,” said Gough, Yorkshire’s interim managing director of cricket.
“I was lucky enough to work on the Hundred last year, and I saw some very, very good limited overs players. He was definitely one of them.
“So he was high up on my target list when I took over as director of cricket. I’m delighted to get it over the line.
“He will be available from game six until the end, taking over from Haris Rauf.
“He’s young, he’s a great fielder and can also keep wicket. He fits into our squad perfectly. He’s played for the Red Rose, now he’s going to play for us.
“Shadab Khan as well, he is an absolutely amazing player.”
Leg-spinning all-rounder Khan – a signing announced on Friday – will be available for 11 group games split across two spells, boosting the Vikings chances of claiming a maiden Blast title.
He was the Player of the Tournament in the recently concluded Pakistan Super League, taking 19 wickets and scoring 268 runs.
“Shadab can bat as high as three, which he did in the PSL, or as low as six, seven or eight to really strengthen our lower order,” continued Gough. “He also bowls excellent leg-spin.
“No matter where we go now, we have quality spin in Shadab, Adil Rashid and Dom Bess. And that’s not forgetting the younger ones, Jack Shutt and the Sullivan brothers.”
Khan will do very well to bat at three in Yorkshire’s line-up, which includes Allen, Adam Lyth, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Harry Brook, David Willey and Will Fraine. The list goes on!
“We could also have Rooty available as well,” smiled Gough.
“Look, that’s not my decision, that’s down to the coach and captain.
“But I was having a laugh with Ottis the other day. We always used to do it going back to when I played. Everyone does it. Write down a potential eleven and try to fit everyone in.
“There are some difficult but positive decisions to be made.”
Gough says no decision has yet been made on a contingency plan should captain Willey miss the opening few games of the Blast to conclude Indian Premier League commitments with Bangalore.
“We’ll have to have a conversation,” he said. “But we have plenty of options who could do that if need be, loads of guys with experience. Shadab could even do a good job, like he did in the PSL.”
Head coach Ottis Gibson admitted in Friday’s media day press conference that success in this year’s Blast is a priority for a county who have yet to win the competition.
Gough agreed: “Yorkshire, as a limited overs side, we’ve had some very talented players. But we’ve fallen short too many times over the years.
“It’s now time to try and build a squad and side who can compete. We want to get that winning mentality.
“We have an explosive line-up, and it’s exciting for us. It should be exciting for our members and supporters as well.”
Pakistan quick Rauf is due to arrive in Leeds by the weekend, and he really does seem like Gough’s type of cricketer.
“I’m so excited about him, I really am,” he enthused. “I did that signing along with Lord Patel.
“Yes, we have a partnership with Lahore Qalandars. It doesn’t mean we have to sign one of their players, but Haris is someone who really excites me. So I was keen to get that done.
“He’s burst onto the scene in one-day cricket, but he’s very keen to develop his longer format game.
“I originally signed him just for the Championship, but once I found out he was available up until June 3, I thought it was a no-brainer to get him in for the first five Blast games as well.
“He pitches the ball up, which will be key in the Championship, and he’s hungry for success and to prove he’s not just a white ball player.”