Chris Waters: Return to 2012 policy Yorkshire’s best option for T20 success

Aaron Finch. Picture Scott Merrylees.
Aaron Finch. Picture Scott Merrylees.
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IT is typical of the Yorkshire coaching staff and the culture of honesty that exists at Headingley that no excuses were offered for the club’s disappointing showing in the T20 Blast.

Yorkshire could have hid behind any number of reasons as to why they came second-bottom of the North Group after eight defeats in 14 games, such as the decision to rest key bowlers for Championship cricket, the fact that England call-ups affected preparations, the injuries suffered to players such as Aaron Finch, and so on.

Mitchell Starc celebrates the dismissal of Dan Redfern for Yorkshire back in 2012.

Mitchell Starc celebrates the dismissal of Dan Redfern for Yorkshire back in 2012.

Instead, the message emanating from the club could not have been clearer.

The gist of it was this: “The squad is good enough, we just didn’t play well enough.”

My own view is that Yorkshire should not be too hard on themselves, or their supporters, in turn, too hard on them.

Yorkshire made a concerted effort to improve their T20 cricket this summer after they failed to reach the knockout stages last season, a determination evidenced by their signing of two big name overseas players in Finch and Glenn Maxwell.

Unfortunately, neither man really came off, and it turned out to be a case of the best-laid plans of mice and men.

A number of senior players were off the boil too, and Yorkshire, for me, struggled in three key areas – their bowling at the start of innings, their bowling at the death, and because they were sometimes too reckless with the bat as opposed to plain aggressive.

Those are areas a largely young side can work on going forward.

However, form is fickle, and there is no reason to suppose that if the tournament was played again now, Yorkshire would not get better returns from some of those senior players.

It should also be noted that Yorkshire are not, and never have been, a great T20 side – or, indeed, a great one-day side period.

The club may go on to win the Royal London Cup, and are well-placed to qualify at the halfway stage, but one-day cricket has never really been their forte.

What is Yorkshire’s forte is the Championship, and they are right to prioritise that tournament by resting bowlers in T20.

If Yorkshire are to make an impact in T20 next year or any year, they really need to happen what happened in 2012 when they went all the way to Finals Day for the only time.

That year, Yorkshire had two outstanding overseas players who delivered significantly – David Miller with the bat and Mitchell Starc with the ball. Everything flowed from their efforts, with the team swept along by that magical word “momentum”.

In my view, Yorkshire should reconsider their T20 recruitment for next summer. With such a young and inexperienced attack, I feel they need a quality pace bowler as well as a quality batsman. However, as we have seen this year, there are no guarantees when you recruit players.

There is a significant amount of fortune involved. Criticism of Yorkshire’s T20 efforts must be put into the context of what they are achieving in four-day cricket.

Some teams base their entire summer around T20 and are poor in the Championship; with Yorkshire, it seems the longer the format, the better they are.

Yorkshire can clearly improve in the game’s shortest form.

With a fair wind, perhaps they will do so in 2016.