Darren Gough to play it smart not fast over Yorkshire CCC signings
The county’s managing director of cricket does not want to move too soon given the club’s history of injuries to its bowling department.
Yorkshire were unlucky again with injuries last summer, with pace bowlers Matt Milnes (back stress fracture) and Mickey Edwards (foot) out for long spells.
Matty Fisher missed the start and end of the campaign with a broken hand and then a side strain - although he did feature in nine of the 14 fixtures, the most he has ever played in one season - and Ben Coad was managing a knee problem.
There were various other niggles and wear and tear issues.
As such, Gough wants to make sure that any signing Yorkshire make is, first and foremost, the right one for their needs.
If the bowling department is struggling come February-time, say, then he may look to sign an overseas bowler; if not, an overseas batsman could be targeted to compensate for the likely absence of such as England’s Dawid Malan and Harry Brook.
Counties are allowed to field two overseas players in the Championship, with Shan Masood, the Pakistan batsman and club captain, already in place.
“We’ll be waiting until probably February to make a decision on whether we get a second overseas, and whether it will be a bowler or a batter,” said Gough.
“Let’s see where we are. We can’t make any decisions yet. We’ve got a history with some of our bowlers so we’ve just got to wait.
“In an ideal world, I’d want to sort it out now, but we can’t go early. We can’t afford to risk that because we need to see where our bowlers are and how everyone rocks up.
“The three main bowlers on paper, Milnes, Coad and Fisher - I don’t think they’ve played together yet.
“We might need more cover, but, if everybody is fit, I think it’s obvious that we might need another batter.
“We’ll just have to see. We’ve got a lot of youngsters who are coming on really well, but we might need some more experience in there.
“At the same time, the (talent) pool is not like it used to be. You can’t just go out and get quality overseas players just like that.
“Some don’t want to play red-ball cricket, or their states, or whatever, won’t let them play. We’ve tried to sign left-armers - originally, we signed (Neil) Wagner who obviously got injured - but it isn’t easy.
“We’re fortunate that we’ve got a gun overseas in Shan Masood, and he got 700-odd runs for us in seven games, and I think he’ll be even better next year.”
Gough’s efforts to strengthen have also been hit by the racism crisis. Players have been reluctant to come given the uncertainty hanging over the club in terms of points penalties, a situation that was only resolved 10 weeks ago when a 48-point sanction ended their promotion hopes.
“It’s affected us signing players because they didn’t know whether we would get points this season, or next year, or what was happening,” he added.
“We were talking to three domestic batsmen. Any two of those three would have been perfect, but we couldn’t get the targets we wanted.
"We were waiting for the CDC result and the outcome of that.
“We knew something was coming, we just didn’t know what - or when. Once that was all out of the way, then you saw the relief in the lads.
“It’s been a difficult two years, a disruptive two years, but we’ve shown signs that we’ve got a good side and some talented players, and hopefully now they’ll get better and better.”
Yorkshire finished the season strongly, beating promoted Worcestershire in their final match, a result that would have left them just 10 points behind them in third place but for the points penalty.
“I don’t think people could have any complaints with the way we played red-ball,” said Gough.
“I don’t think we could have done any better this year with the weather and the points.
“We were dominant in a lot of games but the weather played a massive part.
"We had a directors of cricket meeting in London on Tuesday and they were all saying that Yorkshire, Glamorgan and Lancs lost a lot more overs than anyone else (Yorkshire lost circa 40 per cent of playing time).
“White-ball was disappointing, I’ll be honest. Unfortunately, injuries to our bowlers affected us massively.
“We had to open the bowling with (David) Wiese. The idea was always that the middle overs would be between (Ben) Mike, Wiese and (Jordan) Thompson, but unfortunately that didn’t happen. We missed Milnes and Edwards without a doubt.
“The weather had an impact but we weren’t really good enough this year in white-ball. The Blast didn’t go to plan.
“The 50-over for us is about development. We want to win it, obviously, but it’s about development.
“So, overall, a strange season, with the weather and everything, but definitely lots of positives to take into next year.”