Captain Gale targets personal big finish to the campaign

Yorkshire's Andrew Gale.
Yorkshire's Andrew Gale.
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YORKSHIRE captain Andrew Gale has admitted that his form is a worry and said that he would consider dropping himself if anyone in the second team was putting pressure on his place.

Gale has scored 327 runs in the County Championship this year at an average of 19.23, with one half-century in 18 innings.

“It’s been tough, I’ve struggled for form all year,” said Gale, who made 14 and 1 in the win against Warwickshire.

“I’ve been scratching my head. I had a great pre-season, best pre-season I’ve ever had. I’m short of confidence and short of runs at the minute, I’m not going to lie.

“If there was a second-team lad who was stacking them up and really putting pressure on, then it would be a case of leaving myself out, but there’s no-one really breathing down my neck in the second team.

“It’s not through lack of work ethic, I can promise you. I’ve played second team games where I can, and I’m going to play again this week. I thought I was getting back into some rhythm when I played down at Surrey, but this game, the runs haven’t been there again.

“It wasn’t an easy pitch to bat on, but I usually play well on these sorts of decks, so it’s a bit of a worry, but all I can do is keep working hard and hope that it turns.”

Gale, 32, already has the respect of the Yorkshire supporters and that will only be increased by his candid comments.

He prides himself on leading from the front as one of the club’s most successful captains.

It has not quite gone for him this year; having lost his place in one-day cricket, he has had little action of late as the Royal London Cup and NatWest T20 Blast have dominated the schedule.

However, one has only to look back to last season, when he was one of just two Yorkshire players along with Jonny Bairstow to reach 1,000 Championship runs.

“I ended last season well, and, hopefully, I can do it again this season,” he said.

“I want to be putting in a contribution to the team, not just with captaincy.

“I want to be speaking for myself with runs, and I’ve got a good record behind me. I’ve been here before, so I’ve just got to believe in what I do and keep working hard and believe that it will turn.

“It hasn’t been easy, I haven’t played much lately. I hadn’t played for two-and-a-half weeks. I’d played a second team game, but it’s very, very different. We played down at Belper, and I think I batted a session for 20 not out. The pitch was really slow and low, and we were playing against an Academy attack, so that wasn’t ideal.

“It’s quite new to me (not playing one-day cricket). It’s been a bit of a shock to the system. I haven’t been involved in any one-day cricket, but it is what it is and I just have to keep working hard.”

Gale is not the only batsman who will be targeting a big finish to the season.

Yorkshire have struggled to make consistently big totals, an area of their game they are striving to improve.

“Collectively, we can improve with the bat,” said Gale. “Over the last 18 months other teams have performed better than us with the bat.

“In this match against Warwickshire, we were indebted to a last-wicket stand between Steve Patterson and Ryan Sidebottom.

“Someone always stands up and makes a contribution when we’re in trouble. That’s the sign of a good side, I guess, but it would be nice if the top-six was doing it consistently.”

Although he has not been directly involved, Gale has been keeping close tabs on Yorkshire’s one-day progress.

He is delighted they have won through to the quarter-finals of the Royal London Cup and the NatWest T20 Blast, raising the prospect of an historic treble.

“The start of the T20 comp wasn’t great and morale and confidence was quite low, but we got on a roll and have now got momentum,” he said.

“That confidence spills over into all cricket, and there’s a real buzz around the club now.

“You get to this stage of the season and there are some teams playing for nothing, but we’re playing for all three trophies.

“It’s going to be tough to manage people’s workloads, but it’s an exciting time.”