Martyn Moxon says Yorkshire’s players are enjoying the pressure of expectation thrown on them as the club target silverware in 2021.
The White Rose director of cricket believes the county’s squad “looks to cover all bases” ahead of the opening LV= Insurance County Championship game against Glamorgan at Emerald Headingley on April 8.
Following a hugely productive winter indoors at Headingley, the players are now in the midst of a four-game pre-season friendly run.
They travelled to Middlesex and Derbyshire for two-day fixtures last week and host a pair of three-day University games against Leeds/Bradford and Durham this week. The first of those is against Leeds/Bradford at Headingley from tomorrow (MONDAY).
During last weekend’s online AGM, chief executive Mark Arthur said he believed this was the strongest Yorkshire squad assembled during his nine years at the club, in which time back-to-back County Championship titles were won in 2014 and 2015 and almost a third in 2016.
And with the quality available, including England quintet Jonny Bairstow, Dom Bess, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid and Joe Root set to feature at various points through the summer across Championship and T20 cricket, you can certainly see why he believes that.
“It was a strong comment,” said Moxon. “We had a very good team from 2014 to 2016. So if they play better than that team, I will be very, very happy.
“But we’ve certainly put together a squad that looks to cover all bases – we have strength across all facets of the game.
“We’ve talked about a transitional period, and it’s been about giving opportunities to Waite, Thompson, Kohler-Cadmore, Tattersall, Fraine, Brook, Fisher, etc, etc.
“They are now hopefully in a position where they can really impact and win us games.
“Every team at the start of the season wants to win trophies.
“All I want from our players is for them to play to their potential. If they achieve that, we will be there and thereabouts. We just have to have a consistency and a belief. If we’ve got that, we’ll be somewhere near.
“I think the lads very much believe they can do well and are embracing that.
“When you come into a team as a young player, you are hoping to do well. But now they are comfortable in this environment. I’m not saying they are complacent by any means, but they expect to do well rather than hoping to.
“If they surpass the squad which did so well a few years ago, wow, it’s going to be some journey.”
Yorkshire will field a strong side against Leeds/Bradford, particularly in terms of bowling firepower.
That will then give coach Andrew Gale the option of resting the likes of Steve Patterson, Ben Coad and Matthew Fisher ahead of the opening Championship match against Glamorgan.
Duanne Olivier and Dom Bess will not feature against Leeds/Bradford in order to build up their training workloads in the early stages of the week. The plan is for them to feature against Durham University from Saturday to Monday.
Opening batsman Adam Lyth, who is close to full fitness following a calf injury, will also only play in the Durham game.
15-man squad to face Leeds Bradford MCCU at Emerald Headingley
Gary Ballance, Harry Brook, Ben Coad, Matthew Fisher, Will Fraine, Tom Loten, Steve Patterson ©, Mat Pillans, Josh Poysden, Matthew Revis, Jack Shutt, Jonny Tattersall (W), Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Matthew Waite, David Willey.