MARTYN MOXON believes that a reality check is needed when it comes to the present state of Yorkshire cricket and predicted that the club will have “a very strong team” within two years.
The club’s director of cricket is confident that another successful side is starting to emerge as Yorkshire continue to rebuild following their double Championship-winning success in the mid-2010s.
Yorkshire showed promise this year in the Championship, finishing fifth despite performing better than in the previous two years when they finished fourth.
Their white-ball cricket was disappointing, with the club unhappy with their efforts in the One-Day Cup and T20 Blast, and Moxon admitted that Yorkshire are “not yet where we need to be” and that “we’ve got a lot of hard work to do”.
Some supporters are unhappy with the rate of progress since the mid-2010s; others are understanding of the challenge faced by Moxon and head coach Andrew Gale in trying to create another team following various retirements, departures, England call-ups and so on since Yorkshire last won the Championship in 2015.
Moxon, who has helped to build three Championship-winning sides in his coaching career, at Yorkshire twice and at Durham, said that he does not listen to “all the scaremongering and doom-and-gloom and everybody-needs-to-be-sacked kind of stuff” so prevalent these days on social media.
I firmly believe that in two years’ time we’re going to have a very strong team. We have to be realistic of where we’re at at the minute, and the facts are we are a developing team; we haven’t got that many experienced players,Yorkshire director of cricket, Martyn Moxon.
He is adamant that Yorkshire are “not far away” and that it can take “about five years” to build a title-winning squad; he feels that Yorkshire are displaying “good signs” and highlighted the “positive evidence” of young players who have “not looked out of their depth and, at times, produced match-winning performances”.
Yorkshire plan to complement those youngsters by signing an experienced batsman this winter, an overseas spinner and up to two overseas players for the T20 Blast; Adil Rashid, the England World Cup winner, is close to agreeing a new one-year contract.
Reflecting on the general state of Yorkshire cricket, Moxon said: “I firmly believe that in two years’ time we’re going to have a very strong team.
“We have to be realistic of where we’re at at the minute, and the facts are we are a developing team; we haven’t got that many experienced players, particularly batting-wise. But we have a group of young players who are improving all the time and who will only be better for the experience they are getting.
“I know where we are and I know what we’ve got to do; I’ve been through it all before. The reality is we knew this would happen (a period of transition). We wanted to develop a new team without falling off the edge of a cliff, and we haven’t fallen off the edge of a cliff.
“Other teams have been up and down in the Championship, yo-yoing between divisions, but we haven’t, and it’s not as though Yorkshire have always been at the top of the Championship table because we haven’t; we went over 30 years without winning the title before 2001.
“Yes, it’s been bumpy of late, but it always is. It was bumpy when I was building the Yorkshire team for 2001. It was bumpy building the Durham team. It was bumpy building the Yorkshire team for 2014. You look at the history of County Championship cricket and that’s what happens. It’s bumpy, it isn’t easy, it takes time to build a successful side.”
Moxon went through the list of Yorkshire’s talented youngsters – the likes of batsmen Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Will Fraine, Harry Brook and Tom Loten, complemented by experienced batters Adam Lyth and Gary Ballance.
He highlighted the development of Jonny Tattersall, who has just completed his first full year behind the stumps, arguing that it is unrealistic “to expect him to be like Chris Read or Jack Russell at the minute” but praising him for his progress “given that he’s hardly kept in his life before, let alone as a first-team county cricketer”.
Moxon pinpointed the potential of pace men such as Matthew Fisher and Ben Coad and, as a red-ball as well as white-ball player, David Willey, whom he wants to see challenge Sam Curran for an England Test place.
And he picked out the promising nature of young spinners Jack Shutt and James Logan, along with the slightly older Josh Poysden, plus those players of all stripes coming through at second-team level, of whom hopes are high.
As far as this season is concerned, Moxon felt that the club record 433-run defeat at home to Kent in the penultimate Championship match put a dampener on an otherwise promising red-ball campaign.
“We have to take a step back from all the furore after Kent, which was an embarrassing result, no doubt it,” he said. “It was a terrible few days, we know that, which tarred the season, but we’ve got to look beyond that now.
“When you look at the season overall, it’s not as bad as some people are making out; three games out we still had a chance of winning the Championship.
“But because we were successful at the end of the last two seasons, we went into the winter on a positive, but because we had success earlier in the season this year, and had a couple of defeats at the end, it feels a bit more negative, but we actually played miles better in the Championship this year than in the previous two.”