YORKSHIRE have praised the work of their new batting coach Paul Grayson and believe that he will have an even greater impact now the season is over.
The club boasted three of the top-nine run-scorers in the First Division of the County Championship this season in Gary Ballance, Tom Kohler-Cadmore and Adam Lyth.
Run-scoring remains a challenge; Yorkshire’s total of 24 batting points was the second-lowest behind relegated Nottinghamshire, and they have not collectively scored runs consistently since 2014.
But they believe that Grayson is making a valuable difference and that he will benefit from a winter working more closely with the players away from the constant grind of the fixture list, having only started his role in March.
“This will be Paul’s first winter working with the players and it gives him valuable time to do that work,” said Martyn Moxon, Yorkshire’s director of cricket.
“He’s had the summer to get to know the lads and he’s been universally welcomed at the club; every player feels that Paul has added value to us.
“We’re still looking for greater consistency with the bat and in all departments of our game, and the batsmen have now got areas that have been identified to work on during the winter.
“Paul now has the time to undertake that work and to continue the good stuff he’s done so far.”
Amid the busy nature of the county season, with its differing demands and contrasting formats, there is little scope to find time to work extensively with players as they effectively go from one game to the next.
Grayson, the former Essex and Yorkshire Diamonds coach, who represented Yorkshire, Essex and England as a player, has been a constant presence giving help and support, impressing all with his positive attitude.
The 48-year-old has also been an important sounding board for first-team coach Andrew Gale, with Grayson and bowling coach Rich Pyrah working closely with the first XI and Moxon overseeing all aspects of the club.
Gale has also been impressed with Grayson, who knows all about the challenges faced by a head coach having performed that role in his time at Essex.
“PG’s had a real good impact,” said Gale, “and I think you would say that the stats are better from a batting point of view.
“You compare our batting stats to someone like Somerset, for example (who finished second in the Championship), and we’ve got better stats.
“I think we’ve seen progress, and although it can take time to build relationships and get that trust (with players), PG’s done that.
“You look at someone like Lythy (Adam Lyth), for example, who has got very close to PG and benefited from him a lot already,” he said.
One area in which Yorkshire hope Grayson can make an important difference is in one-day cricket.
The club struggled in the 50-over Cup and the T20 Blast this summer and are determined to improve their white-ball as well as red-ball record.
“I think PG wants to get his teeth into some one-day stuff,” said Gale.
“There’s areas that he feels we can improve – having a better technique on our sweep shots and reverse sweeps, for example.
“Also, being a bit more consistent as a team in general and recognising particular game situations and how you should play, because that was one of his strengths down at Essex.
“He had a great record in one-day cricket and won trophies down there, so he knows what success is all about.”
Among the key challenges for Grayson going forward is continuing to develop the club’s promising young batsmen.
Although Ballance, Kohler-Cadmore and Lyth were the standout performers this year, Yorkshire think very highly of Harry Brook, Will Fraine and Tom Loten, to name just a few.
“Another good thing is that PG’s been away from Yorkshire for quite a long time and he’s got a different slant on things,” added Moxon.
“He does give us that outside voice, if you like, a different view and perspective on things, and he’s come in with a fresh pair of eyes, as it were.
“But his thoughts and ideas and assessment of players is no different to Andrew Gale’s, mine, Rich Pyrah’s, Ian Dews’s, or the other coaches, because all of us know exactly what we need.
“As we’ve said, achieving success with a young and developing squad takes time, and it’s great to have someone like PG on board.”