Yorkshire’s coaching team, led by Ottis Gibson, all have their own personal stories to tell ahead of today’s Vitality Blast Finals Day at Edgbaston….
Head coach Gibson was a winner here as a player in 2004 with Leicestershire, also going on to coach the West Indies to World T20 success.
“My message to the players will be ‘just go and play, be brave’,” said Gibson ahead of the semi-final against arch-rivals Lancashire Lightning (11am).
“That’s been our mantra throughout the whole competition.
“No fear, just go and attack the game. Be skilful and be confident. Finals Day is not a place to be timid. You’ve got to go out there and you’ve got to be strong.
“We’re playing a very good team in Lancashire, so we can’t take five, six or seven overs to get going. We’ve got to be ready to go from the very first over, the very first ball.”
Assistant coach Kabir Ali, who lives only a 15-minute walk from Edgbaston, was part of Lancashire’s squad here in 2014.
He played in the morning semi-final before suffering a shoulder injury and being replaced in the final against Birmingham by Andrew Flintoff, who had only just come out of retirement. Lancashire lost.
Ali’s former Red Rose team-mate Tom Smith is now on Yorkshire’s coaching staff as second-team coach.
He was Lancashire’s captain in 2015, the season they won it here. But he missed out due to a back injury which ultimately cut short his playing career.
Smith isn’t at Edgbaston today.
But Ali’s fellow assistant coach Ali Maiden is – for the first time.
Maiden knows all about winning trophies, given he was the assistant coach of the England women’s team when they won the World Cup by beating India at Lord’s in 2017.
“I’ve never been to Finals Day, so it will be fantastic,” he said.
“The key thing about succeeding in finals, and we spoke about this on the website when the women got to the World Cup final recently, is holding your nerve.
“Everyone talks about it being just another game, but it’s not. It’s finals cricket.
“Both teams will be jittery in the semi-final and the final, and it’s the team who can hold its nerve the longest and get that level of control and calm that will have the advantage.
“But it’s T20 cricket, it’s mad. Anything can happen.
“That Surrey game last week, we’d won it, we’d lost it, we’d won it again. I’ve stopped trying to predict the outcome of T20 games.”