PAUL GRAYSON has been appointed Yorkshire’s new batting coach, beating off a slew of high-quality candidates including former England batsman Jonathan Trott.
Grayson, who played for Yorkshire from 1990-1995 before playing for and then coaching Essex from 1996-2015, moves from his dual role as coach of the Durham University side and the Yorkshire Diamonds women’s team.
The 47-year-old, who made two one-day international appearances for England in the early 2000s, will work closely with Yorkshire first XI coach Andrew Gale and bowling coach Rich Pyrah, with director of cricket Martyn Moxon continuing to oversee all aspects of the club’s cricketing operation.
Grayson, who hopes to start the job on March 1, is an ex-team-mate of Moxon and scored his solitary hundred for Yorkshire (100 exactly) in the match in which Moxon registered his career-best 274 not out against Worcestershire at New Road 25 years ago.
Grayson was one of 27 applicants for a batting position that Yorkshire advertised following the unavailability of initial targets that included former England captain Paul Collingwood and ex-Zimbabwe batsman Grant Flower.
Craig White, the former Yorkshire and England all-rounder, was one of seven men interviewed along with Trott, who retired from playing at the end of last season after scoring more than 30,000 runs in all cricket.
Given that track record and a career spanning 52 Tests and 68 one-day internationals, Trott, 37, must have been a tempting proposition for the Yorkshire hierarchy.
But that hierarchy, having left no stone unturned in an effort to make what they believe is the right appointment, are understood to have wanted an older hand rather than a third young coach to work with Gale (35) and Pyrah (36), with Grayson’s experience as Essex head coach from 2007-2015 also of potential benefit to Gale in particular.
Moxon, 58, who would not be drawn on the identity of those who applied for the job, admitted that Grayson’s “all-round experience ultimately swayed it in his favour”.
“Paul is very competitive, he likes to win and is very passionate, and that really came across in interview, that he’s still very passionate about Yorkshire cricket,” said Moxon.
“When you look at the players that he’s worked with over the years, the likes of Alastair Cook down at Essex, for example, his track record is very strong.
“Obviously Graham Gooch did a lot of work with Alastair Cook, but Paul had some influence as well and when you’ve got someone around who’s worked with people of that calibre it’s only going to help someone like an Adam Lyth, for example, or any of our young batsmen.
“You’re going to have an experience and an expertise that you can pass on to players and that’s exactly what Paul will do.
“Although Paul is a Yorkshireman and played for Yorkshire, he’s been away from the club for a significant amount of time, so he’s coming in fresh with new ideas and a new perspective on things.
“I think he’ll be particularly helpful for Andrew Gale, who’s only two years into his coaching role, and that’s one of the big things that attracted us to Paul, his experience of running a first XI and the expertise that he can bring.”
Grayson, born in Ripon and the brother of football manager Simon, was a right-hand batsman and left-arm spinner who played 52 first-class matches for Yorkshire and 66 one-day games.
He enjoyed most of his playing success at Essex, for whom he struck 15 first-class hundreds before coaching the county to the 2008 Friends Provident Trophy, beating Yorkshire at the semi-final stage.
“I’ve gone full circle really,” said Grayson, who will work with the first XI, second team and Academy. “I’m delighted to be back, it’s a role I feel I can fulfil really well, and I’m looking forward to working with a group of talented players.
“This is the perfect role for me, I hope. I have no intention of going back into a club to become head coach, and I feel I specialise in batting along with a bit of spin bowling as well.
“I would not have left my job at Durham University for any other club, and I hope to play that father figure around the dressing room.”
Gale, who sat on a four-man interview panel with Moxon, captain Steve Patterson and second XI coach/Academy director Ian Dews, said: “I’ve felt for a while we’ve needed a batting coach.
“The bowling group has been quite close, and Richard Pyrah treats them as his own. I felt the batters needed that also.
“Paul has got a wealth of experience, he’s been there and got the tee shirt, and I wanted to bring someone in who could challenge me as well as help me.
“We know our batting hasn’t been what it should have been the last few years, but certainly the potential and ability is there to get it right and hopefully Paul can help make that difference.”