MARTYN MOXON last night hailed Yorkshire’s County Championship title as a greater achievement than when they won it last year due to the amount of England call-ups they have had to deal with.
Yorkshire have been hampered by international calls throughout the season, including the loss of six players on England’s tour of West Indies.
Yorkshire are without several again this week due to the involvement of Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Jonny Bairstow and Aaron Finch in the one-day series between England and Australia, and the fact that Joe Root has been rested by the England hierarchy.
Director of cricket Moxon and the Yorkshire coaching staff have expertly managed depleted resources, with the players and coaches rallying together.
“Last year was a fantastic achievement, but I think this year is an even better one because of the disruptions we’ve had through England selections,” said Moxon.
“It really has been a true squad effort, and all credit to the players for coping with things.
“It has been frustrating to lose players to England, but we knew going into the season that it was going to happen and that six lads were picked for the Caribbean tour, so we were prepared.
“We played brilliantly last year, don’t get me wrong, but, given the circumstances, this is the bigger achievement for me,” he said.
It was the first time that Yorkshire had won back-to-back Championships since 1968, when they became the last club to win three on the bounce.
Moxon believes the present Yorkshire side is starting to be spoken of in the same breath as some of the best to have graced Yorkshire’s proud history.
“I think that sort of comparison is beginning to happen,” he said.
“After our last home Championship game against Somerset, members in the crowd were talking about this team being up there with the great teams of the past, and it’s great to hear.
“Obviously, we need to win a few more Championships yet, but we’ve got that chance.
“As we’ve said before, a big aim of the squad is to leave a legacy of having been successful over a period of time.”
Moxon’s remarks were echoed by captain Andrew Gale, who believes his side can go on to claim a hat-trick of titles.
“Three in a row is very achievable,” said Gale.
“The key thing is that we can still improve, and there’s too much personal ambition in the team for lads to be resting on their laurels.
“As a squad, we made a conscious effort after last season to make sure that our standards didn’t slip, and that winning mentality has flowed through the club. Now we want to finish the season by getting the record points (Yorkshire needed 26 more going into their current game to beat Somerset’s tally of 266 in 2007) and to blast that previous record if we can.”
Another man who takes great credit for Yorkshire’s success is first team coach Jason Gillespie, who reflected: “Last season, we said that we didn’t want this to be a one-off and that we’d love to back it up.
“It’s very easy to say that, but for the players to then actually go out and do it through their actions is very, very special, and they’ve been absolutely brilliant.”
Chief executive Mark Arthur commented: “To win the Championship despite having had so many players missing is absolutely remarkable.
“I’ve never seen a set of professional sportsmen so together, and although Yorkshire has been blessed with a number of very good cricketers over the years, this is a blend of very good cricketers and a great environment.”
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