Ottis Gibson has urged his Yorkshire players to cast aside their disappointment and tiredness as they aim for one final push in 2022 against Gloucestershire next week, a game which will hopefully see them avoid LV= Insurance County Championship relegation.
Yorkshire were beaten by 10 wickets inside three days by Surrey at the Micky Stewart Oval today, their fifth defeat of the summer. But they were given a boost shortly after the game finished when already relegated Gloucestershire beat Warwickshire.
It means the county head into next week’s finale at Headingley with a 15-point cushion over the Bears, who are second bottom and host Hampshire.
“Next week is a massive game because we don’t want to be playing in any other division than the first,” said the coach.
“It’s been a long season. Guys have played a lot of cricket. But if you’re performing well, you don’t feel tired. I’ve been there myself as a player. When I’m performing well, I don’t feel tired.
“Whatever the guys are feeling now, they have to get over it in time for practice on Sunday and be motivated to make sure this club is still playing in the first division next year.”
Matthew Fisher is in line to play against Gloucestershire after returning to second-team action over the last fortnight following most of the season out with a back stress fracture.
On the game at the Oval, which saw Surrey chase 55 to win by 10 wickets before tea on day three, Gibson said: “First of all, congratulations to Surrey.
“Over the three days, they were miles ahead of where we are at the moment as a team. They have played Championship-winning cricket all year, and we haven’t reached that level yet.
“But, as I said to the guys in the changing room as Surrey were singing their team song, ‘We’re in a bit of transition, but there’s no reason why in a year or two we can’t be doing the same’.
“The last three days has been a challenge for the lads, and I talk all the time about learning. I hope the way Surrey sung their song gives us something to reach for.
“It’s been a disappointing three days, I have to say that.
“I expected us to bat better in both innings, and we haven’t done so.”
Yorkshire have now lost five of their last seven Championship games to slip into danger towards the bottom.
“The second half of the season has been a disappointment, and you can’t hide from that,” said the coach.
“At the start of the season, we were making 500 every time because of the personnel in our team. We had Malan, Root, the most in form batter in the country at the time in Harry Brook. Taking those guys out of our team, and we’ve exposed a lot of young inexperienced guys.
“It’s shown that we’ve still got work to do when guys underneath get their opportunities if we’re going to play Championship-winning cricket.
“Surrey had Rory Burns back from England, they had Pope, Foakes and two overseas in Amla and Roach. We haven’t got an overseas and are playing without our two England stars. If we put them back into our team, it’s very different.
“What I’m saying to our young guys is, ‘When you get an opportunity against a good Surrey team, I want you to show what you’re capable of’.
“The work we have to do with the young guys is to try and ensure that when the England guys are missing, we still maintain a strong core and have strong performances.”
Along with Fisher, Gibson was asked the question about a possibles return for Joe Root next week.
He added: “We’re likely to see Fish, but we’re absolutely not likely to see Joe.
“Fish has done everything we’ve asked on him. He’s been on a proper programme building up to playing next week if everything goes well. That’s a strong possibility.
“Last week, the ECB said that Joe is finished for the year. That’s still the situation.”