ANDREW GALE has said that he will not quit as Yorkshire first-team coach and blamed senior players for the club’s poor season.
Gale said he felt let down by his experienced men after Yorkshire only narrowly avoided Championship relegation.
Gale has endured a baptism of fire in his first year in charge, prompting some supporters to question whether he was the right choice to replace Jason Gillespie.
But Gale – who captained Yorkshire to back-to-back Championships under Gillespie – had this message for his critics.
“People can say what they want. I’ve always been up for a challenge,” he said.
“I love this club. I still believe in the group of players. I won’t be walking away from the club.
“I’ve heard lots of stuff about Andrew Gale is the cheap option. Let me tell you, I’m not. I had ambitions this year to win trophies and it hasn’t worked out like that. But I’m hoping that in the scheme of things this is a big lesson for myself and the players. It’s a massive winter.”
Gale, who will meet chief executive Mark Arthur and director of cricket Martyn Moxon to discuss the way forward, has the backing of the Yorkshire board.
As criticism flared on social media after Yorkshire’s 376-run defeat to champions Essex at Chelmsford, the heaviest defeat in their history by a runs margin, Yorkshire chairman Steve Denison leapt to Gale’s defence and that of the coaches.
“Understand your frustration but performances happen on the pitch and coaches don’t bat or bowl,” said Denison in response to one supporter.
I love this club. I still believe in the group of players. I won’t be walking away from the club.Yorkshire first-team coach, Andrew Gale
Gale, who had a lengthy talk with his players in the privacy of the dressing room after the Chelmsford debacle, admits that Yorkshire were fortunate not to be relegated.
Although he did not single anyone out, only a handful of the club’s senior players enjoyed a remotely successful year.
“I feel let down by the players, particularly the senior players,” said Gale.
“These are guys who have played international cricket and guys who have got a tremendous track record behind them and have won County Championships themselves.
“They know what to do to perform at this level, and they’ve been well below par. There’s no words to get around that. They’ve been below par.
“If we’re being brutally honest, we were lucky not to get relegated this year. Another year, if we play like that, we’ll be in Division Two. We’ve got to consider ourselves lucky that we’re not in Division Two next year and can still compete at this level.
“I’ll have a meeting next week with the chief executive and the director of cricket and we’ll decide a direction in which we are going.”
Gale said recently that he did not envisage too much personnel change. Yorkshire want to back as much as possible their existing players, although an overseas batsman could be high on their wish-list.
The batting has been a problem for several years, with no obvious solution other than to wield the axe. At the same time, every batsman on duty at Chelmsford has performed in the past, with only key individual performances – as opposed to collective ones – papering over the cracks in recent times, even when Yorkshire won the title in 2015.
“I just want honesty from the players,” added Gale. “I want to ask the question, ‘why?’ Why has this been happening?
“I feel like we’ve put all the best plans in place for them to succeed and we’ve performed well under par, particularly in the County Championship.
“In the white-ball stuff, I felt that we took a step in the right direction this year. I thought our batting was outstanding at times in the T20, even though we didn’t qualify. I saw a real improvement in our game plans and the way that we went about things.
“But, in Championship cricket, our batting ultimately has cost us. That’s not just this year. That’s been happening for a number of years. We’ve had to chop and change the order to try and get a formula that works.”
Gale believes there have been positives during a season in which many expected Yorkshire to challenge for the title.
In particular, Ben Coad has emerged as a pace bowler of genuine skill and potential, the 23-year-old comfortably Yorkshire’s leading wicket-taker in the Championship with 50 at 20.86.
“Ben Coad has been a big positive,” said Gale. “He was given an opportunity through injuries and he’s taken his chance. I think Matthew Fisher has been a plus. Karl Carver is improving. Gary Ballance has had a very good year.
“Other than that, there’s not many lads who can think that they’ve had a really good year.”