YORKSHIRE are to practise their cricket skills more than they normally would in the run-up to Christmas following feedback from the players.
The squad return for pre-season training on Monday after a seven-week break since the end of last summer.
But rather than focus on the usual fitness work, there will be more emphasis placed on that carried out with bat and ball.
Director of cricket Martyn Moxon revealed: “There has been a general desire from the vast majority of players to do cricket earlier this time.
“It’s not as if we’ve never done cricket before at this time of year; there have always been a few players who have done cricket pre-Christmas if there’s been specific things that they need to work on.
“It’s just that more players are now starting cricket earlier than they normally would.
There’ll still be a big fitness block, but there’ll be fitness and cricket throughout the pre-Christmas period, then we’ll up the cricket volume in the New Year.Martyn Moxon.
“Normally, they probably wouldn’t pick a bat up until December at the very earliest, but quite a few are wanting to start the cricket when they come back this month.”
Yorkshire are effectively striking more of a balance between cricket-related work and physical training as they build towards the 2020 campaign.
Fitness work will still underpin everything that they do between now and then, with physical demands on players higher than ever in an era of punishing schedules and with white-ball cricket demanding that they are as much athletes as simply batsmen and bowlers.
Moxon added: “There’ll still be a big fitness block, but there’ll be fitness and cricket throughout the pre-Christmas period, then we’ll up the cricket volume in the New Year.
“In terms of cricket skills, there are basically areas that we’ve identified and which the players have identified that need improvements, hence why they’re starting the cricket earlier to get that work done.
“For some players, it’s technical changes or technical additions predominantly; each player will have one or two little technical things that they want to try and change and improve, so it might be a pre-delivery movement that’s not working, for example, which we can play around with and try to make better.
“It’s really identifying technical areas and giving us enough time to make sure that they’re in place going into the New Year so we can hit the ground running in the New Year in terms of working on specific game-plans in the different formats of the game.”
The life of a county cricketer is now essentially all-year round; gone are the days when professionals would need/look to supplement their income by taking on a winter job, for example.
In addition to those players already away on England duty, several Yorkshire players will not be around at various stages anyway owing to cricketing jobs elsewhere in the world.
Adam Lyth, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, David Willey, Dawid Malan and Adil Rashid, for example, are all involved in the T10 competition in Abu Dhabi that starts tomorrow and runs until November 24, with more franchise opportunities on offer than ever before in the English winter.
Will Fraine, Tom Loten and Ben Birkhead are playing club cricket in Australia, while Josh Poysden is hoping to get some cricket in New Zealand.
Poysden, the 28-year-old leg-spinner, missed the final part of last season due to a freak accident in training at Emerald Headingley.
The former Warwickshire man suffered a fractured skull after being struck while giving throw-downs to on-loan spinner Dom Bess.
Poysden recently returned to training ahead of the rest of the squad and is expected to make a full recovery.
Moxon is confident the injury will not have any adverse effect on the player going forward.
“Psychologically, I guess that Josh will only know once he starts bowling in the nets against a batsman,” he said.
“But it was such a freak accident that hopefully it won’t have any long-term psychological effects for him at all.
“Josh has been back in training, which is excellent news, just doing some relatively low-level stuff.
“He’ll step things up now with the rest of the lads.”
Poysden’s absence was a blow to Yorkshire especially in the T20 last year, with fellow leg-spinner Rashid also unavailable for that competition due to a shoulder injury.
Moxon hopes that Poysden will now be able to get a run of cricket after something of a stop-start Yorkshire career.
“Josh hasn’t had a run of playing yet really, which is frustrating,” he said.
“In fact, none of the spinners have – Jack Shutt’s had his injury problems, James Logan’s had his injury problems; none of them have had a long run at actually playing, which is not ideal.
“Josh has got ability and a fantastic work ethic, and we’ve got to find a way of giving him and Logan and Shutt and our younger spinners opportunities to improve.
“Next summer, we’ve got to give them opportunities in the second team in red-ball cricket to improve and impress so that, in the longer-term, they’re first-team cricketers in red-ball cricket. That’s the plan.”