Yorkshire CCC head coach Ottis Gibson sets 'promotion' target
Yorkshire’s mission to bounce back into Division One at the first attempt after last year’s relegation was dashed when they were docked 48 points in the fallout from the racism saga.
It sent them plunging to the foot of Division Two.
Far from viewing the final month of the season as an exercise in going through the motions, however, with Yorkshire 31 points adrift of second-bottom Gloucestershire and 84 points shy of Worcestershire in the second and final promotion place, head coach Gibson has other ideas.
He wants Yorkshire to imagine that the points sanctions never happened - to imagine, in effect, that they are 36 points off second place with four games left, and to see whether they would have gone up under normal circumstances.
“That’s the target; that’s something we’ve spoken about a lot since the points deduction,” said Gibson.
“If we win our last four games, the funny side of that is we could still probably have gone up automatically, so let’s see where we would be without the points taken off.
“Durham are way ahead at the moment, but we could still try and get second if you imagine the table without the points deductions, and that would be something to be proud of.
“Despite all that has happened to us as a group, we’re still playing good cricket.”
After a break following the One-Day Cup, Yorkshire return to Championship action against Derbyshire at Scarborough on Sunday, the only side they have beaten in this year’s tournament, at Chesterfield in June.
They round off with fixtures against Glamorgan at Cardiff (September 10-13), Leicestershire at Grace Road (September 19-22) and Worcestershire at Headingley (September 26-29), aiming, initially, to avoid finishing bottom of Division Two for the first time in their history.
Gibson, 54, has made no secret of the fact that he thought the points penalty was harsh and mistakenly directed, contending that it penalised those “trying to move the club forward”.
Yorkshire have been hollowed out by the crisis and it remains to be seen whether they will ever fully recover from their darkest chapter.
“The points deduction has happened, but what I’ve said to the players in the dressing room is that I still want us to try and win every game of cricket,” added Gibson.
“Every game presents an opportunity for the young players, in particular, to develop. (Dawid) Malan won’t be available (due to England duty) but, in an unlucky sort of way for Shan (Masood, the club captain), because he wasn’t selected for Pakistan, on the flip-side it means that we have him here to continue to guide the young players for the rest of the season.
“Hopefully, he can put in some performances to show them (Pakistan) what they’re missing.
“As a group, we’re determined to put in some good performances and to finish the season as strongly as possible.”