By Graham Hardcastle
Martyn Moxon has given an honest assessment of Yorkshire’s Specsavers County Championship progression, admitting: “We are some way off where we need to be.”
The county’s director of cricket knows there have been positive signs in four-day cricket this summer – five wins and up to the start of last week they were still in with a chance of winning the Division One title.
But back-to-back landslide defeats to Somerset and Kent, the latter by a record 433-run margin, has dampened spirits significantly.
A third-placed finish is still possible. They head into next week’s final-round clash with Warwickshire at Edgbaston placed fifth and 10 points behind Hampshire, who hold third.
“We still have another game at Warwickshire, but to lose the last two in the manner we have is massively disappointing,” said Moxon.
“All the good work that’s been done throughout the summer is almost forgotten.
“At this moment, it feels like we’ve had a really bad season when actually there have been some good things.
“What it does highlight, though, is there are plenty of areas we have to be better in.
“A lot of our basic skills need to improve.
“The fact we’ve won five Championship games and been in the mix for potentially winning it has been good.
“We can also be encouraged by having the better of home games against Essex and Hampshire aside from our wins.
“Championship wise, up to the last two games, we’ve shown character and fight. They haven’t always been perfect performances, but we’ve won some really good games.
“But we’re not fooling ourselves. We are some way off where we need to be. That’s with batting and bowling.”
Yorkshire will look to recruit two domestic batsmen in the winter whilst also boosting their spin bowling stocks. South Africa overseas spinner Keshav Maharaj is getting married in May, so it looks likely they will look elsewhere for now.
Moxon said: “Kesh has played a big hand in us winning a few games.
“Individuals have put in some really good performances, but we still lack consistency.
“We’ve said on numerous occasions that we’re in a transition period and want to find out about our own players. We’ve used this year to do that, and I think it’s told us a lot.
“It’s shown we have work to do, hence why we are looking to recruit.
“There’s been a lot of good things happen, and individuals at times have performed really well. But it’s that consistency.
“You expect junior players to be inconsistent, but senior players are different. You need that consistency.
“Gary Ballance has been fantastic, particularly in the first three quarters of the summer.
“Adam Lyth has got a lot of starts. He’s got seven fifties but no hundreds. As a senior player, you have to convert at least a couple of those fifties into hundreds.
“It’s about a consistency and a ruthlessness. If we’re being honest, we’ve lacked that. We want to find it.
“Because we’re young enough, we’re still a team who have a lot of potential.
“When you look through the side, there’s not that much seniority. There’s only Lythy and Gary who you would call true senior batsmen. Even though Tom (Kohler-Cadmore) is capped, he’s still a young player.
“We know we’re not the finished article and know we have to be better in a number of areas. At the same time, there’s been a lot of good things like the emergence of individuals.
“Will Fraine has shown he can get a hundred against Surrey. Now it’s about doing it more often.”