Lord Kamlesh Patel, the Yorkshire chairman, said that he and Darren Gough, the interim managing director of Yorkshire cricket, had been “blown away” by the response after the club advertised a raft of positions.
Yorkshire axed 15 coaches and backroom staff in the wake of the racism crisis.
“We’re in the process of appointing coaches and I’ve been blown away, and so has Darren, by the response,” said Patel. “We’ve had over 80 applications from coaches from around the world for the various positions, which is phenomenally positive.
“We’re going through a rigorous new process to mark properly the skills, experience, expertise and then long-list and short-list candidates, with independent people joining in. That’s taking us a week or two to do and we can’t rush it. We can’t just pick people like I think in the old days may have happened in lots of counties.
“If you put the coaching and the medical staff together, I think we’ve had around 170 applications, so it’s positive in terms of people are certainly not saying, ‘I don’t want to go and work there’. Hopefully, we’ll have the coaches in place within weeks.”
Patel defended the club against accusations of replacing one old boy’s network, so to speak, with another, with the former Yorkshire players Ryan Sidebottom and Steve Harmison working as interim coaches underneath Gough. Sidebottom caused a stir on Monday by saying that Yorkshire should “forget” about the racism crisis before acknowledging a “poor choice of words”.
“We needed some interim freelance coaches to enable the players to come and practice, and we deliberately chose people who have not applied for any of the jobs, who are available freelance and interim, and who understand the system so we don’t have to spend three weeks training and teaching them the system,” said Patel. “They know the place, so that’s why they’ve come in.”
Commenting on Sidebottom’s faux pas, Patel said: “I’ve said previously that we’ve started the journey, but we can’t forget the past and what brought us here.
“I think he was trying to do the right thing, but he just used the wrong set of words. But I’m heartened by the fact that he made a public apology, and I understand that he’s actually rung and spoken to Azeem (Rafiq), and they’ve had a good exchange about moving forward and understanding why we have to be just careful about what we do, and I think this is illustrative of the long journey English cricket has to go on.”
Patel remains in contact with Rafiq. “I am in touch with him, and we began our journey with him saying, ‘You talk a good talk, let me see if you walk it’, in summary, and that was fine,” he added. “Hopefully, he’s been impressed by what we’ve done.
“I welcome him and the ECB and the DCMS to hold us to account. I think that’s fair enough, and the more we’re held to account, the better.”
Patel quashed any suggestion of a player revolt following the raft of departures.
“Huge change unnerves anybody and everybody,” he said. “One of the things I’ve done from the moment I came in was speak to everybody, including players, so I’ve had several calls with all the players, just to keep them updated, and I think information is crucial, communication is crucial. I’ve done that with all the staff. People are now back in training, getting on with it and looking forward to the season.”