Ottis Gibson wants Yorkshire to play a positive, fearless brand of cricket as they attempt to make their stay in Division Two a brief one – but he has stopped short of saying his team will replicate England’s Bazball style of play.
In fact, Gibson chuckled when asked if he wanted to give his team’s style of play a label: “No, no. We just want to play winning cricket. That’s all,” he said.
“Bazball? No. I’ll let you guys in the media come up with those kind of labels.”
Gibson cut a relaxed figure as he sat watching the rain fall at Headingley, forcing the abandonment of day one of the two-friendly between Yorkshire and Durham: “It’s going to be a good summer,” he said.
Promotion in the LV= Insurance County Championship is clearly priority number one in 2023, though a repeat of last year’s Finals Day appearance in the Vitality Blast would go down a treat as well.
Gibson and his players have just returned from their pre-season tour of Cape Town last week.
“That was good, although the weather didn’t play ball,” he continued.
“Some days you couldn’t even see the mountain it was that cloudy. But it was a good opportunity to get together as a group and build on the conversations around goal-setting that we started early in the winter.
“We spoke a lot about the way we want to play our cricket this year.
“I don’t think it will go as far as Bazball, but it will be somewhere in between. We will try and take the game on and win.
“The one thing that we’re all clear on as a group is that we don’t want to be lingering in the second division too long.
“We don’t expect it will be easy of course, but we’re all committed to getting out of the second division at the first attempt.”
Yorkshire were hurt by seven draws in Division One last year, with five of those coming in the first six games. They just couldn’t find a way to convert early dominance in matches into victories on flat pitches with unhelpful balls.
And on the positive brand of cricket Gibson wants to see, he continued: “We still expect people to read the situation of the game, read the game where we are at that moment and make good decisions.
“If you look at the way England are playing, it might seem reckless at times. But more often than not, they’re still making good decisions.
“As I say, I don’t think we’re going to go down the Bazball route. We’re going to find a way of playing that suits the players we have in our dressing room. But the key thing is we’re trying to win.
“That’s always been my philosophy and how I’ve played my cricket.
“I’ve said this to the lads. Growing up in Barbados, we were taught when we were young batters that it was six, four, three, two, one and block. The last option was to be a defensive shot. We were always taught to be positive.”
On Friday, managing director of cricket Darren Gough updated members at the AGM on various availability question marks in the early stages of the season.
He said an overseas batter had been targeted as a replacement for injured fast bowler Neil Wagner, owing much to the depth of the county’s domestic bowling stocks.
On that signing, Gibson said: “Hopefully he should be with us before the start of the season. It will be for that first initial five weeks of Championship cricket.
“One thing I do want to say is that we’re very sorry for Neil that he’s not able to come over. We were really looking forward to having him.
“I’ve had the opportunity to chat to him a few times, and he’s a terrific bloke. He could have really added something to our bowling unit.
“We’ll keep in touch with him and see how he’s going and see if there’s any opportunity for him to come at the back end of the summer. He might yet be the guy who comes and gets us across the line in September.”
And on the early season availability of captain Shan Masood, Gibson added: “Shan is dependent on selection for the next series Pakistan are playing, and that selection is this week I think.
“Pakistan have just played a series in the UAE, and there’s another in New Zealand shortly. If he’s not selected in that series, he’ll be with us for the start of the season.”
Yorkshire and Durham are likely to play a 50-over red ball fixture on day two of the behind-closed-doors friendly at Headingley, potentially starting half an hour or an hour earlier than 11am, according to the coach.