Title targeted to reward both Graves and Gale

MARTYN MOXON is calling on Yorkshire to win the County Championship for their benefactor chairman Colin Graves and for suspended captain Andrew Gale as they stand on the brink of their first title since 2001.

Andrew Gale, Yorkshires captain, will be a frustrated onlooker for their last two matches because of a suspension (Picture: Steve Riding).

Yorkshire will win the Championship if they beat Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge in the match that starts today or if they draw the game provided their hosts do not claim three more bonus points.

Director of cricket Moxon said he wants Yorkshire to win the prize for all their loyal supporters, players and staff but singled out Graves and Gale, who have done much to help put Yorkshire within touching distance of their first silverware of any description since 2002.

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Graves, the multi-millionaire founder of the Costcutter supermarket chain and the deputy chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, has bankrolled Yorkshire for over a decade as they battle debts of circa £24m.

Graves negotiated the buyout of Headingley cricket ground in 2005 and the 15-year staging agreement with the ECB that guarantees international cricket in Leeds until at least 2019, and he has pumped millions into the business.

Gale, who is banned for this game and for the final match of the season, against Somerset at Headingley, has helped build a strong side only for his dream of leading Yorkshire over the line to be ended by suspension after a verbal spat with Lancashire’s Ashwell Prince.

Moxon, who welcomes back England’s Joe Root and Gary Ballance for the final two games, with Root to captain in Gale’s absence, believes the title would reward Graves and Gale among many others.

“It would be fantastic to win the Championship for everyone connected with the club and I’d be really delighted for Colin and Galey,” he said.

“Colin is someone who has been unbelievably supportive of the club over the last 10 years, and of me personally, and it would be special to be able to give him the Championship.

“Without Colin, the club potentially would not exist, and we owe him a huge debt of gratitude.

“We haven’t won anything yet and there’s a lot of hard work to finish the job, but the title would reward his faith and support of myself, the coaches and players, as well as his deep love of Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

“There’s also a definite sense among the group of wanting to win the title for Galey.

“We do feel a bit aggrieved, in all honesty, about his situation – not so much in the fact that he swore (at Prince) and probably shouldn’t have done, but more in the fact that there seems to be a grey area as to what is reported and what isn’t when it comes to the disciplinary process.

“But that’s gone now and Galey’s captaincy this year, in all forms of the game, has been outstanding and he is really developing and maturing as a leader.

“Hopefully, we can do the business this week and give him a much-deserved accolade as well.”

Gale, who was frustrated by Prince’s time-wasting in the Roses match, will be at Trent Bridge to help with practices and preparation.

But Moxon stressed that neither Gale nor the coaches would stand in Root’s way and will allow him to captain as he sees fit.

“Rooty will be in charge on the field and will be left to run the game as he wants to,” said Moxon.

“Neither Galey nor anyone else will interfere in that.

“Obviously, we will all discuss things during the intervals and at the end of play, but it will be Rooty’s team.

“Rooty has got a great cricket brain and is a born leader, and I’m sure he’ll do an excellent job.”

Yorkshire’s only Championship defeat this season came under Root’s leadership, when Middlesex chased 472 at Lord’s after Gale dropped himself to accommodate the England man’s return.

But that was a freak result inspired by brilliant Middlesex batting and some uncharacteristically poor Yorkshire bowling.

“That game was a one-off and we haven’t got any qualms about Rooty taking over the captaincy again,” said Moxon.

“No blame could be attached to him for what happened against Middlesex, who played unbelievably well on what turned into a very good pitch.”

Root is also confident that match will have no bearing on what happens this time.

“It didn’t go to plan the last time I did it (the captaincy), but I think I can turn it around and get the win we need,” he said.

“I can’t wait to captain the side and will ensure that we are ruthless in everything we do.

“You cannot underestimate the work that has gone in by the boys all season.

“They deserve to be champions, but there is still a lot of cricket to be played.”

Yorkshire have included Karl Carver, the 18-year-old left-arm spinner, in a 13-man squad, with pace bowler Tim Bresnan set to return after injury.

The game will be played on the pitch used for the one-day international at Trent Bridge 10 days ago, when spin played an important part in England’s six-wicket defeat.

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