Moxon planning for brighter future as value of promotion looks set to reap rewards for county

Yorkshire celebrate victory and promotion to Division One.
Yorkshire celebrate victory and promotion to Division One.
Have your say

MARTYN MOXON believes Yorkshire’s County Championship promotion triumph could be the start of something special and help the club to attract more quality players.

Yorkshire sealed an immediate return to the First Division in their final match of the season against Essex.

With the nucleus of a strong squad in place, along with increased pulling power as a Division One county, Moxon said Yorkshire had entered a new and exciting phase in their history.

“This is just the start,” insisted the county’s director of cricket.

“As we said in the dressing room after the Essex match, this can now be the start of a successful new era.

“We’ve been trying to put the base together for a few years now and to get a squad together that will be successful for a period of time.

“I think we’re starting to see the benefits of that now, and, if we can strengthen in one or two areas during the winter, there’s no reason why we can’t be up there challenging in the First Division next year.”

Moxon is tight-lipped on potential targets but it is no secret Yorkshire are looking to boost their bowling department.

The club are thought to be in the market for James Harris, the England Lions’ seamer, who knows Yorkshire’s first-team coach Jason Gillespie from their time at Glamorgan.

They could also renew their interest in pace bowler Jack Brooks, who has left Second Division Northamptonshire because, like Harris, he wants to play in Division One.

Yorkshire tried to sign Brooks last year only for the player to elect to stay at Wantage Road.

“We’re looking to bring in a couple of players if we can and it certainly helps in terms of recruitment if you’re in the First Division,” added Moxon, below centre.

“Players are more likely to want to come and play for you if they can see that you’re trying to go places as a county.

“We’ve got nothing concrete yet as far as new signings are concerned but we do have a couple of irons in the fire.

“I don’t want to name names because discussions are at a delicate stage, but we hope to be able to sort things out in the not-too-distant future.”

In addition to strengthening their squad, Yorkshire also face a key decision as to whether to retain veteran all-rounder Anthony McGrath, below left.

McGrath, who turns 37 next month, has now reached the end of his contract.

“We’re going to sit down shortly with Anthony and have a chat,” said Moxon.

“He’s got a number of things to consider, as have we, and we’ll sit down and see where we go from here.

“As far as we’re concerned, Anthony has been outstanding for us this season and played a big part in our success.

“He’s had a different role in Championship cricket, batting further down the order than he’s used to, but, as ever, he’s been very professional in everything he’s done and been a fantastic servant throughout the summer.”

McGrath has already stated his desire to stay on after 18 seasons as a Yorkshire player. The former England man has performed strongly with bat and ball and brings valuable experience to a predominately young team.

“I’ll sit down with the club and discuss the situation,” confirmed McGrath.

“I’ve felt in good form lately and hopefully showed there’s still a bit of life in me yet, and hopefully I’ll be playing next season.

“I’ve enjoyed the different role I’ve had this year because I’ve batted No.3 most of my career but I’ve slipped down the order this year to No.6 and sometimes to No.7.

“It’s been a little bit different but I’ve enjoyed it very much and it’s been a different challenge for me to take on.”

Moxon is another who has had a slightly different role after Yorkshire revamped their coaching structure following relegation.

Out went former coaches Steve Oldham, John Blain and Kevin Sharp and in came former Australia fast bowler Gillespie, below right, as first-team coach, former Kent and Sri Lanka coach Paul Farbrace as second XI coach, along with development manager Richard Damms.

Moxon was handed more of a supervisory position, providing support to a coaching team completed by director of cricket development Ian Dews.

He believes the new arrangements have worked like clockwork this season.

“It’s been really good,” said Moxon. “I’ve basically supported the other coaches and gone wherever we’ve felt that I’m needed, and we’ve all worked together as a team.

“That’s been the most important thing for me. We’ve worked together and I’ve been there to support the guys in any way I can.

“I’ve enjoyed it immensely.”

One year on from the pain of relegation, Moxon could be forgiven for savouring the taste of promotion.

He paid tribute to the efforts of all concerned.

“I feel very proud of the players and the team of coaches and support staff,” he said.

“Last year hurt a lot, but the players have been outstanding and all the backroom and support staff have worked wonders too.

“The most pleasing thing for me is that when we’ve been under pressure in games someone has always stuck up their hand and come to the fore.

“That’s been the story of the summer for me; when we’ve needed people to stand up and be counted at crucial times, they’ve done it.”