ENGLAND captain Joe Root believes Yorkshire are putting enough strong foundations in place from within their own ranks to ensure the club begin challenging for honours again on a regular basis.
As coach Andrew Gale’s team this week prepare to bring down the curtain on another tough County Championship campaign with their final game at already-relegated Worcestershire, preparations continue for next season and, with it, the possible make-up of the White Rose squad.
Today’s news that Adil Rashid will be on board for a further year after signing a new deal to play across all three formats of the game is a boost to the options available to Gale and director of cricket Martyn Moxon for 2019 and beyond.
In what will be an even busier summer than usual, Root and county colleagues Rashid and Jonny Bairstow are likely to be unavailable for longer periods to Yorkshire than normal due to being away on England duty, with a World Cup followed by an Ashes Test series.
This year has seen much more widespread criticism of Yorkshire and, in particular first-team coach Gale, given the club’s struggles in the four-day format and a failure to make an impact in either the Royal London Cup or the Vitality T20 Blast.
Some fans, largely through various social media platforms, have called for Gale to be replaced, but the club – both on-and-off the field – have stood resolutely behind their man, with Root quick to add his support for the under-fire coach.
“It is fair to say that the club is going through a slight transition period and through that you are going to get some difficult times,” said Root, while helping promote the sport among schoolchildren in Morley last week as part of a community initiative launched by Village Hotels Club.
“The unfortunate thing is that some people want somebody to blame for that and I don’t think it is as simple as that. With this team having been so successful for such a long period and losing a lot of senior players to the international team, it makes it very difficult to get through that period.
“The club is continuing to rebuild and if we can stay strong as a group and tight as a team then, in time, I’m convinced you will see Yorkshire right back at the top of the County Championship as well as competing in both white ball cricket formats.
“In both white-ball formats this year we’ve come very close and it is frustrating that, of course, the downside to having lots of international players is you do end up losing them for a large chunk of those tournaments.
It is fair to say that the club is going through a slight transition period and through that you are going to get some difficult times. The unfortunate thing is that some people want somebody to blame for that and I don’t think it is as simple as that.Joe Root
“That is very frustrating for the members, but it is also very frustrating for the players because we want to see Yorkshire do well and be involved playing for Yorkshire and winning trophies.
“But that’s all just part and parcel of the way the cricket world is at the moment and the demands of international cricket.
“It’s a very difficult one for the county, it’s a very difficult one for Galey and I think patience is going to be really key for a lot of the members.”
Having come to prominence under Gale when he was captain of Yorkshire – leading them to two County Championship titles in the process – Root is understandably keen for somebody he regards as a key figure in his development to do well in his current position as coach.
“One thing I will say about Galey, is that he has done some fantastic things for this cricket club and he’s had some huge success in the Championship as a captain and he’s desperate for the guys to go out there and do well,” added Root.
“He’s desperate for Yorkshire to be successful and, yes, he is learning his trade and still relatively new to coaching and in charge of a side that is in a slight transition.
“There is obviously going to be that expectation there because it is a side that has won two Championship titles in recent years.
“And Galey has to work out the balance of dealing with that pressure and getting the best out of the players and I’m sure he has the capability to go and do that.”
Loss of key players to international duty in 2019 will, of course, be nothing unusual for Yorkshire, a sign that the White Rose continues to produce enough quality from, largely, within its own ranks. And it is the continuance of that Yorkshire ‘production line’ that gives Root the belief that, despite difficult periods over the last two seasons, it won’t be too long before the county is a force to be reckoned with once more.
“The loss of players to England always creates opportunities for others to come in and show their potential and quality,” said Root. “We’ve seen some special performances throughout this season, even last year – the likes of Ben Coad have been doing it for two seasons now and he has been a really influential player in the Championship.
“Matthew Fisher is a very exciting prospect and we all know what he is capable of doing; Harry Brooke played one of the best innings I’ve seen this season down at Essex, making a brilliant hundred to win us a game out of nowhere. For such a young guy to take that on shows huge talent and proves he is a guy with a great mental capacity to go on and do great things in this game.
“So, yes, there are a lot of exciting, young players at this club – Tom Kohler-Cadmore is another who, in the last couple of Championship games has taken his opportunity when he’s had it.
“But when you are given those opportunities you have to take them and we’ve done it to a certain degree this season and, hopefully, they can kick on even more next season and do it more consistently.”