Yorkshire CCC head coach Ottis Gibson backs homegrown talent to help deliver success for White Rose in 2024
The head coach was speaking on the day the schedule was announced for next season across all three formats.
After the traditional warm-up game against Leeds/Bradford UCCE at Headingley, Yorkshire open their campaign proper witha repeat of last year’s opening fixture in the County Championship when they take on Leicestershire.
Gibson’s team will be hopeful of a better outcome when next year’s renewal comes around on April 5-8, the visitors having prevailed this year in a three-wicket victory, chasing down 389 on the final day to win, Yorkshire having scored 517 in their first innings.
That opening encounter on home soil is followed by trips to Bristol to take on Gloucestershire and Lord’s to face Middlesex before returning home to Leeds to close out the opening month against Derbyshire.
Three more four-day encounters follow in May - a home game against Glamorgan and trips to Sussex and Northamptonshire – before Yorkshire take a break from the Championship to turn their attention to the Vitality T20 Blast.
That begins on May 30 with a clash at Headingley against Worcestershire Rapids before a trip to Leicestershire the following day.
The group stage of the Blast is played out through June and July – split in half, effectively, by two County Championship games which see Yorkshire make their first trip of the season to Scarborough to host Gloucestershire on June 23 before taking on Derbyshire at Chesterfield a week later.
The Metro One-Day Cup group stage swings into action on Thursday, July 25 with a visit to The Kia Oval to face Surrey, followed three days later by an encounter at Nottinghamshire.
Yorkshire’s first home game of the 50-over format is on July 31 at York, the first of two games to be staged there, the other coming two days later against Gloucestershire.
There are also two 50-over games at Scarborough, against Essex on August 6 and Leicestershire on August 8.
Yorkshire have a second four-day game at Scarborough against Sussex on August 22 and after a clash against Middlesex a week later at Headingley, finish their Championship campaign in September with trips to Leicestershire and Glamorgan before Northamptonshire visit Headingley on September 26.
Having seen their hopes of securing an instant return to Division One of the County Championship ended by the 48-point deduction incurred as a result of the CDC hearings into the Azeem Rafiq racism allegations, Yorkshire are well-placed and confident of achieving promotion at the second time of asking.
Gibson makes no secret of the fact that he considers promotion the club’s primary objective for 2024, although it remains to be seen how much of an impact there will be on the availability of captain Shan Masood, after his recent appointment as skipper of the Pakistan Test team. Another factor to consider is the loss of Dawid Malan, who has announced his intention to concentrate on white-ball cricket.
There are options to sign another overseas player to play alongside Masood – impressive during his first season – although Gibson believes the wealth of up-and-coming homegrown talent will help cusion the blow of any unavailabilities.
“We want success in four-day cricket,” said Gibson. “We want to get ourselves back in the first division. That is where most of the attention is in county cricket.
“One thing we are perhaps lacking is experience in that middle order, and not having Malan might represent a bit of a problem if the likes of Jonny (Bairstow) and Joe (Root) go to the IPL at the start of the season.
“But we have some of the best young players in the country and I’m expecting those youngsters to step up. George Hill has had two good seasons now, Matthew Revis had a good year batting at seven, Jonny Tattersall and James Wharton also.
“If someone is not available, it always presents an opportunity to someone else. What I want and expect is for those youngsters to take that opportunity.”
In terms of Roses fixtures this year, the only two scheduled contests with Lancashire will come in the Vitality Blast – on June 20 at Headingley and at Old Trafford on July 12 – the two sides having been kept apart in the group stages of the One-Day Cup.
The 20-over format is where Gibson is desperate to see an improvement, having failed to qualify for the knockout stages in 2023.
“Our Blast cricket this year was pretty disappointing,” he added. “There were one or two games which we should have won which we didn’t, and we didn’t close out key moments in games.
“We’re trying to get a few more pieces into our Blast squad which give us a better chance of qualifying for Finals Day.”
For a full breakdown of Yorkshire’s 2024 fixture schedule, log on to www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/sport