I THINK with the success that Yorkshire had last year, everyone is going to be out to beat us in the Championship this year.
Especially with all the lads who are missing and it has been well documented that for our first game at Worcestershire tomorrow, we will have seven lads missing.
It is going to be tough, no doubt about that. But I have said to the lads it is going to be about opportunity as well.
When young lads come into a team, there’s an excitement around and after those call-ups, they have got a chance. It’s up to them to stake a claim and really give myself and Dizzy a headache when the lads come back from England.
Last year was great, but you want to be remembered for years and years after you have played as one of the best teams Yorkshire have ever had. To do that, you need to win trophies consistently and that’s the attitude we have gone in with this year.
I have seen no slacking off in training or the performances in pre-season and the lads have really hit their straps hard and there’s no complacency there.
We want to create our own legacy, just like the teams of the fifties and sixties.
We also have to look at other champions in the past and several have followed up by being relegated. It’s happened so many times in the past, it is not a coincidence.
It is something that the support staff addressed to us two weeks after last season. They said we need to strive to improve and what sort of things we need to do.
The senior players also sat down and talked about it. Ryan Sidebottom played in a very successful Nottinghamshire side that won the Championship and the following year, they were relegated.
We had a chat with Sides about the things that went on when he was playing in that team.
So we are trying to learn lessons from other teams and trying to make sure we don’t get into that category.
The lads are very switched on. I was surprised, as I thought there may still be talk of the Championship from last year. But as far as I have seen, that has gone.
That showed in the results in Abu Dhabi.
There was a real hunger there and that showed when we won the Twenty20 and the MCC game. We have not been resting on their laurels.
Every year the division is wide open and it’s a blank sheet of paper in the first division. That is what is so exciting about watching it. Anyone can beat anyone on their day.
We have seen in the past that if you don’t turn up for a session here and there, it can cost you vitally throughout the season. We have got to make sure that whoever who are playing against that we are really switched on and when we get over the white line, that we do the basics well.
It’s going to be a big season for the young lads. Jack Leaning had a good season last year for instance and came in and did a really good job. It will be even more testing for him this year, second season around – as people know about him.
Will Rhodes had a really good pre-season and stood up well and came out of a pack of players and showed what he’s capable of and he’s going to get an opportunity at the top of the order while Lythy is away. Hopefully, he can stake a claim.
Karl Carver will also come in and fill the slot of Adil Rashid. There’s opportunities there; yes they are inexperienced, but there’s an expectation around these young players. They aren’t just coming into fill places, they are going in to contribute. It’s whether they can do that.
Our senior bowlers are here and while you have a chance of taking 20 wickets, you always have a chance of winning.
Batting wise, it will be tough at times as we are missing so many good players.
But bowling wise, we still have a very experienced line-up.
In terms of our new signings, we have brought Cheteshwar Pujara in as he’s a traditional sort of Test batsman. He averaged a shade under 50 in Test cricket and has had a lot of expectation on his shoulders in Indian cricket and has taken that on and performed really well.
It’s the mould we are after; a young up-and-coming guy in international cricket and someone with real ambition to do well.
***Andrew Gale’s column is in association with Blacks Solicitors***