Yorkshire’s character at heart of title challenge - Ben Coad

BEN COAD believes Yorkshire are answering their critics this season as he hailed the team’s character and togetherness.

Yorkshire's Ben Coad celebrates dismissing Surrey's Sam Curran with Adam Lyth at Scarborough (Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWPix.com)

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Yorkshire’s players and coaches came in for criticism during the past two years when the club flirted with relegation in the County Championship.

Yorkshire's Ben Coad celebrates dismissing Surrey's Ben Foakes. (Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com)

First-team coach Andrew Gale effectively came off Twitter due to the abuse he received from supporters, rubbishing suggestions of a divided dressing room, and called on dissenting voices to get behind the club.

Those voices have stilled somewhat this summer as Yorkshire have climbed to third in the table, hot on the heels of leaders Somerset and Essex, their next two opponents.

Coad believes that proves the unity in the camp and praised the attitude shown by his team-mates.

“We pride ourselves on our character,” he said.

“I think it’s showing now.

“Previous years, people have been saying it’s not been there and off-field things have not been right, and so on.

“But the character we’ve been showing recently is massive.”

Gale agreed with the 25-year-old Coad, who has been one of Yorkshire’s shining lights again this season.

The Harrogate-born player has taken 32 wickets in eight Championship appearances at an average of 24.90, seven more that the club’s next-highest wicket-taker, Duanne Olivier.

“I think the boys have shown a lot of character all season,” said Gale. “I think that’s one thing that you always get from this team.

“You can see that the environment is strong and that there’s a good team spirit about them.

“That togetherness and character is exactly where it should be.”

Never were those qualities more evident than at Scarborough last week, where Yorkshire beat Surrey by 123 runs.

It was a result that effectively kept Yorkshire in the title race and knocked Surrey out of it, Coad playing his part with five wickets and 73 runs all told, including a career-best 48 in the second innings from No 10.

“As long as we keep putting performances like that in, there’s no reason why we won’t be there or thereabouts this year,” he said.

“If we keep fighting like we have done and keep playing like we have done, there’s no reason why we can’t be towards the top of the table.

“But we’ll just take each game as it comes and see where we are at the end of the season.

“Somerset and Essex are performing well, but we’re playing them at the best time we could ask for because we’re playing some really good cricket.”

Yorkshire now head to Essex for tomorrow’s fixture at Chelmsford.

A victory would effectively erase the gap to their second-placed opponents.

“Now we go to Essex and we know what it’s like down there,” said Coad.

“It’s going to be low-scoring, but we back our bowlers all the way.

“It’s been a tough period of cricket, but I’m happy with how my body is and I’m raring to go personally.

“Hopefully we can follow up with another good win.”

Yorkshire’s triumph at Scarborough saw the continuation of the blossoming opening partnership between Adam Lyth and Will Fraine, who shared stands of 116 and 94.

Lyth, 31, remains one of the finest opening batsmen in the country, while Fraine, 23, is one of the most promising.

“It’s been nice to see,” said Gale. “They’ve given us a really solid platform.

“We’ve struggled for a number of years in getting a good, solid start at the top of the order, and I think Will Fraine is growing into the role.

“He’s still got a lot of technical areas to work on, but he’s willing to work on them and he’s shown that he can score runs at this level.

“He’s getting more confident with every game. We predominantly signed him (from Notts) off the back of white-ball form, asked him to score runs in the seconds and he’s done that.

“He’s got himself into the team and it’s his spot to lose now.”

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