ANDREW GALE believes that Ben Coad could become the next cab off the rank of Yorkshire players to represent England.
The county’s first-team coach said that pace bowler Coad has the potential to represent his country after he continued his excellent start to the season.
Coad captured match figures of 8-59 – including a career-best 6-25 in the first innings – as Yorkshire thrashed Lancashire by 10 wickets at Headingley.
While Coad’s career is still in its infancy, Gale has no doubt that the 23-year-old has the ability to go a long way.
Asked whether Coad could one day represent his country, Gale said: “Yes, I think he has got the potential to play for England.
“It’s early days for him yet, but everything that’s been thrown at him this year, he’s come up trumps.
“The wicket against Lancashire was friendly for the seamers, and one of the best cricket wickets that I’ve seen at Headingley, but you’ve still got to put the ball in good areas.
“Ben did that, and he’s hardly bowled a bad ball all season.”
Handed his chance after injuries at the start of the season to Jack Brooks and Ryan Sidebottom, Coad has seized it in no uncertain terms.
He has now taken 31 wickets in five Championship games at an average of 14.03, statistics that prompted former Yorkshire president Dickie Bird to state that he would have no qualms about selecting him for next month’s first Test against South Africa.
“I’m not going to sing his praises too much because I don’t want him picked just yet,” quipped Gale, who is currently without five England players due to the Champions Trophy.
“But you can see that Ben is getting more and more confident with every game.
“We’re just trying to manage him physically as best we can, as it’s his first full season, and the demands are tough on him at the moment.
“His shins are quite sore at the minute, but he’s doing a really, really good job.”
Gale also had praise for a man at the other end of the career spectrum in the shape of Ryan Sidebottom.
The left-arm pace bowler, 39, retires at the end of the season, but still looks as potent as ever; he took three wickets in each innings against the old enemy to finish with match figures of 6-68.
“Ryan never lets us down and he’s the ultimate Rolls-Royce, as we like to call him,” said Gale. “He’s worked hard to come back after picking up a little bit of a niggle in pre-season, and a guy of his age has to work twice as hard to come back from that.
“But he’s put the hours in the gym and looked after himself, and you can see that he’s got that focus to finish the season on a high.
“The lads love him to bits and they want him to finish on a high, and they’ll be playing for him, I’m sure.”
Gale’s men delivered a convincing performance against a Lancashire team who wilted inside three days.
The visitors started day three on 141-4 in their second innings, nine runs adrift, and were dismissed for 209 after 90 minutes.
Yorkshire cruised to a 60-run target shortly after lunch as Adam Lyth and Alex Lees completed the formalities.
It capped a good game for Lyth, who ended a barren run with a hundred in the first innings and 128 runs in the match all told.
“I’m really pleased for him,” said Gale. “You always go through lean patches as a batter, and Adam’s worked really hard and got his rewards. If I could show the Academy a video of how to bat at Headingley, that would be it (his first innings century).
“His movements were outstanding, and you could tell from ball one that his determination was there to make a big score.”
Gale’s only criticism was that Lyth got out immediately after reaching three figures (“I’d have liked him to have gone on and got 150”), while his only criticism of the side overall was that they were not more clinical with the bat.
“I thought we were outstanding overall and that, from start to finish, we dominated the game,” he said.
“But we always strive for perfection, and the only area where I thought we could have done better was that we should have got a 250-run lead, not a 150-run lead going into the second innings.
“We could have been a bit more clinical and not have had to bat again, but, other than that, our catching was a lot better and, as a bowling unit, we were top-drawer – as good as you’ll see in county cricket.
“We’re always striving for the perfect game, and I felt we weren’t far off it.”