YORKSHIRE’s chief executive Mark Arthur believes the club boast the strongest squad in the country in all three forms of cricket and can prove it by winning a hat-trick of trophies.
Arthur feels they can claim a clean sweep of titles in England this summer – the LV= County Championship, the new Royal London One-Day Cup and the revamped NatWest T20 Blast.
His comments come on the day that Yorkshire will announce that leading accountancy firm Mazars are their new principal partner in a deal thought to be worth around £400,000 to the cash-strapped club.
The two-year arrangement –with the option of a third year –is a major boost to Yorkshire just days after they announced a loss of £600,000 for 2013 which deepened their debts to £24m.
While the club celebrate this lucrative business tie-up, which will see the Mazars’ brand appear on the Yorkshire players’ shirts and training wear, it is on-field success which the club’s members and supporters most naturally crave.
Yorkshire are the only first-class county who have not won a domestic league or a cup since August 2002, when they lifted the old Cheltenham and Gloucester Trophy.
It is a blow to the pride of a club steeped in history and tradition and Arthur recognises the urgent need to follow good news off the field with good news on it.
To that effect, the former Nottingham Forest and Notts CCC CEO has done little to quell enthusiasm for the forthcoming campaign by insisting that Yorkshire can run riot this summer.
Arthur told The Yorkshire Post: “We believe we’ve got the strongest squad in the country in all three forms of the game and we’re setting out to try to win every competition.
“A lot will depend on the weather, a lot will depend on England calls, but if you look at the squad – including the two centrally-contracted players in Joe Root and Tim Bresnan – I would be happy to put us up against anyone in the country.
“Of course, it would be very hard to win all three competitions, but it’s possible and that’s what we’ll be aiming to do.
“There’s a lot of self-belief in the squad and a lot of self-belief within the club that we can go and win some trophies this year.”
Arthur admits Yorkshire are conscious of the fact that the Headingley trophy cabinet has been the most redundant piece of furniture in county cricket.
However, he insists it is not something that weighs unduly heavily on their minds.
“It’s not something we’re always thinking about,” he said.
“However, it is certainly something that we want to address because the aim of the game is obviously to win trophies.
“Martyn Moxon (Yorkshire’s director of cricket) has been back at the club for seven years now and he can now see the same groundwork at Yorkshire that he put down at Durham, who have won three Championships in six years.
“Martyn laid that foundation and he feels that he’s now done the same at Yorkshire, so hopefully we’re going to reap the rewards.”
Although the Championship remains the competition Yorkshire most want to win, with the club finishing runners-up last year to Durham, they are also targeting improvements in one-day cricket.
Yorkshire unashamedly put all their eggs in one basket last summer by focusing primarily on the Championship.
But those eggs are being more widely distributed this time, with the signing of Australian batsman Aaron Finch a clear sign the club mean business in T20 in particular.
The 27-year-old opener is one of the most explosive batsmen in T20 internationals, boasting a strike-rate of 170 runs per 100 balls.
“Statistically, we had more dot balls when batting than any other county in T20 last year,” said Arthur. “And, statistically, those teams that clear the ropes on a regular basis are the teams that win, so we knew that we had to get somebody in.
“In 2012, when Yorkshire were successful in T20, David Miller and Mitchell Starc were here, and they made a big difference.
“We tried to get David again last year, but he pulled out at the last minute, and Aaron is exactly the type of big-hitter that we need.”
Yorkshire say Finch’s signing has already had a positive effect on T20 ticket sales.
Arthur believes their recruitment of the player merely emphasises their commitment to winning silverware.
“Aaron’s signing has had a good impact on ticket sales, although I’m not prepared to give any exact figures at this stage,” he said.
“When we signed him, the story trended on Twitter both in the UK and in Australia, and it shows to our members and supporters that we’re giving it our best shot by bringing in arguably the most prolific one-day batsman in the world. We already knew we had a very strong squad in place capable of competing in all three competitions.
“The signing of Aaron only adds to that strength.”
Great progress being made under Arthur: Page 17.