Andrew Gale believes his Yorkshire squad is two to three years away from being genuine title contenders in the Specsavers County Championship.
Coach Gale is confident exciting times are on the horizon at Emerald Headingley, but he has urged initial patience with the county’s crop of young stars as they prepare to return to pre-season training at the end of the month.
Yorkshire’s recruitment ahead of 2018 stands at Josh Poysden, Mat Pillans and, most recently, Huddersfield-born batsman Will Fraine.
Gale has likened Yorkshire’s current development to that of the 2012 season when they won promotion from Division Two and went on to win Division One in 2014 and again the following summer.
Yorkshire finished the most recent campaign in fourth place in the top flight after a campaign beset by issues with injuries and unavailability.
“I’ve never known a season like it where there’s been so much uncertainty,” said Gale.
“It feels like every week something was happening right from the start of the season.
“Like I’ve said before, I always pride myself on good organisation. But some of the things last season, you just couldn’t see happening. It was challenging.
“But most of our stuff was done five weeks from the end of the season, contracts and stuff, and I felt that released a lot of pressure. You could see the team spirit really shone through.
“Being an inexperienced coach, I’ve asked other coaches ‘Is this the norm?’ Martyn (Moxon), for example, has been in coaching a hell of a long time and said ‘I’ve never seen a season like it’.
“It can only get easier from here.
Right-handed Fraine, 22-years-old, arrived from Nottinghamshire at the start of last month.
The former Durham MCC Universities captain has five first-class, three List A and seven T20 appearances to his name.
Gale added: “Will’s a good young player who has scored quite a few runs in second-team cricket.
“He comes highly recommended from Paul Grayson, who has seen quite a bit of him, as has Martyn.
“He hasn’t played a great deal of first-team cricket, but we feel we need competition for places. He’s not going to be a shoo-in for a place yet, but he will be pushing for a place with good form in the second team.”
“Going forwards, I think there’s some really exciting times at Yorkshire.
“Do I think we’re a Championship winning team yet? No. But we’re building towards that.
“Coady’s performing well, Brooky’s done well and Matthew Waite at the back end. Jordan Thompson’s also shown what he can do. If we can get Fish fit, he’ll be a real asset.
“In two or three years’ time, I think we will be challenging strongly.
“In the meantime, we have to back them. There will be days when they’re inconsistent.
“It feels a bit like that year (2012) when we backed the likes of Gary Ballance, Jonny Bairstow, Moin Ashraf, and they came through and performed in the first division.
“We want to win Championships every year, but we have to be realistic and manage expectations.
“In a few years, I believe these lads will be the real deal.
“Now, we have to make sure we have the right experience around them. That’s something we’re also working on.”