MARK ARTHUR has hailed the relationship between Yorkshire’s players and coaches as the best he has seen during nearly a quarter- of-a-century working in top-level sports administration.
The former Nottinghamshire CCC and Nottingham Forest FC chief executive, who became Yorkshire CEO in May, said nothing he had experienced previously came close to matching the rapport shared by those striving to bring on-field success to the county.
“I’ve been hugely impressed by the set-up here since I arrived, and the relationship between the players and coaches is the best I have seen in my 23 years in sport,” he said.
“It is truly fantastic, and I have also been struck by the way the coaching staff work very closely together and are a really tight-knit group.
“There is a great bond between the players and coaches, and it was brought home to me further last week when we were doing the player appraisals.
“The interaction between the players and coaches was something to behold – really, really positive.”
Arthur has quickly earned the respect of all involved on the cricketing side and brings to his position not only considerable business acumen, but a deep-rooted love and knowledge of the game.
He was delighted with the team’s achievement in finishing second in the County Championship to a strong Durham side as Andrew Gale and his players marked the club’s 150th anniversary with some memorable displays.
“We’ve been enormously competitive in the Championship,” said Arthur. “You’re always going to have the vagaries of England call-ups and bad weather, but to come second only to a very good Durham side that has won the Championship now three times in six years was a great effort.
“We’ve also made a great addition to that squad in Kane Williamson, the New Zealand batsman who is contracted for next year, and he has slotted into the dressing room environment brilliantly already.”
Yorkshire did not perform well in one-day cricket this year, making no impact in the YB40 and Twenty20 Cup, but Arthur believes they can do better next summer – particularly with the 40-over tournament having been replaced by a new 50-over competition.
“We understand that we haven’t been competitive in the T20 this year, and the YB40 game fell by the wayside really. It didn’t really take off in any shape or form.
“But we actually believe that the balance of our squad is better suited to the 50-over game, and the blocked format will also help, with the matches being played in one big chunk.”
The new 50-over format is part of a comprehensive change to next year’s schedule, with most Championship games starting on Sundays and most Twenty20 fixtures being played on Fridays.
Arthur is pleased with the new format and believes it will provide spectators with better appointment to view.
“I think the new programme works really well,” he said.
“You know that County Championship matches start on Sundays and T20 matches predominantly on Fridays, and it makes sense.
“We’ve got to engage with more people and get them involved in Yorkshire cricket, and I think this will help us to do that.
“I’m delighted with the new programme.”