Shannon Gabriel is here for a good time, and he might be here for a bit longer time as well.
Yorkshire have recruited the experienced West Indies fast bowler on an initial three-game deal to play in the LV= Insurance County Championship through July.
Two games at Scarborough, starting against Division One leaders Surrey from Monday (11am) and then against Hampshire later this month. A trip to face Somerset at Taunton is sandwiched in between.
“We’ve announced Shannon is coming for three,” said interim managing director of cricket Darren Gough. “But, listen, if he impresses, we have another four Championship games in which he could play.
“We will have a look at him and see how things go.
“He’s a good performer. We had a few options, but someone of his quality who we could have for the rest of the season was the standout one of those.
“Ottis also knows him well.
“He’s brings us something we’re desperate for, pace.
“I’ve been lucky enough to see Shannon a few times, including overseas when England have been touring the Caribbean.
“He bowls a heavy ball, and he has aggression.”
Gabriel, 34, will be urged to sample all the delights Scarborough has to offer, chief amongst them the fast and bouncy surface at North Marine Road.
“We all love Scarbados,” said Gough. “It’s a brilliant venue with a nice pitch, and it’s super to bowl on.
“Everything around it is fantastic as well. You can walk back to the hotel at night and have Fish and Chips.
“We’ll be telling Shannon, ‘You don’t come to Yorkshire, to Scarborough, and not have Fish and Chips’. We might also take him down to the slots one night as well!
“It’s a bit different to anything he’ll have seen before. But he’ll love it. What a place for him to play two games.
“And Taunton. He’s got three opportunities to play at nice bowling grounds. People may say Taunton is flat. It’s not. If you bowl in the right areas, there’s a bit there.”
Gough enjoyed personal success at Scarborough in his playing days.
He took his maiden first-class five-for there in a Championship win over Lancashire in 1991, a game which also included his second career fifty.
Advising Gabriel – a bowler with 161 Test wickets – on the best way to bowl at North Marine Road, he said: “It’s about bowling the right length, not to get carried away with the bounce.”
Yorkshire are fifth in Division One with one win from seven games and 96 points, their last outing a defeat at Hampshire last month.
Surrey are top on 143 points from eight games, including four wins.
Last time out, they drew a high-scoring home fixture with Kent.
“We could be in a lot better position than we are, but it’s been a good effort from the lads considering the injuries and unavailability we’ve had,” said Gough.
“The last game, at Hampshire, was a shame. We looked so strong with the bat the game before, but we had a young line-up. They performed well in one innings, but when you have a lot of youngsters there’s always a fear of a collapse, and it showed in the second innings.
“We’ve dropped a few catches this year, which hasn’t been ideal. But it’s been obvious that we haven’t been able to bowl teams out twice.
“When Haris (Rauf) was in the side, it looked like we were going to do it. But since then, we’ve struggled on pitches that have been very good. It’s mirrored the pitches we’ve seen in the international games.
“I think it’s been a summer of unbelievable pitches.
“Fisher missing and Leech, who are our two quickest bowlers, they’ve hardly played a game in the County Championship. We had Fish fit for one innings.
“We’ve struggled on the pace front, and we’ve had to go outside with Shannon.
“There are some very good sides in this division who haven’t had as much disruption, and we’re still in the hunt.
“We have Surrey, Somerset and Hampshire. If we can have a good few weeks, you never know.
“We’ll have some more lads unavailable, but we do have lads pushing them, and we’re not afraid to play the youngsters.”
While Yorkshire will field Gabriel, Surrey will have overseas duo Hashim Amla and Aaron Hardie in their ranks. They are also set to have England Test batter Ollie Pope available.
Whether Wednesday’s Vitality Blast quarter-final at the Oval, which Yorkshire won in thrilling fashion, has any impact on proceedings will be interesting to see. It certainly can’t have done Yorkshire any harm.
Steve Patterson ©
Jonny Tattersall (W)