Yorkshire yesterday flew out from Heathrow destined for Potchefstroom in South Africa for a two-week tour as part of their continued preparations for the 2019 season.
After the traditional warm-up game against Leeds-Bradford MCCU, the campaign will officially get underway with a trip to Nottinghamshire in the County Championship on Friday, April 5.
In a move that provoked fierce debate throughout the cricketing world, Yorkshire have brought in South African fast bowler Duanne Olivier on a three-year Kolpak agreement, the 26-year-old opting to give up his international career having only recently established himself in the line-up.
But – for now at least – the Yorkshire hierarchy are not intending to bring in an overseas star, preferring instead to give the likes of Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Jack Leaning, Harry Brook and and the newly-signed Will Fraine – all aged 25 and under – a chance to put themselves in the frame for a place in the Trent Bridge line-up.
“At this moment in time there are no plans to bring in any (overseas players),” said Gale.
“We always keep our ear to the ground with agents and the like, but what I’d like to see are our own players put their hands up and claim a place in the team.
“This is an important two weeks for those kinds of players.
“If we are struggling from a runs point of view then we will look at the overseas market – we have got options, like I said – but we want the likes of Leaning, Kohler-Cadmore, Fraine and Brook to put their hands up and score runs.”
In recent years Yorkshire have struggled to benefit as much as they had hoped from overseas signings, India’s Cheteshwar Pujara and New Zealand captain Kane Willamson last year, for example, both strugglingto have the desired impact.
One of the main aims, as Yorkshire look to clinch a first County Championship title since 2015 and a first piece of one-day silverware since 2002, is to have more consistency in their team selection, something Gale thinks can be achieved in 2019 – even with the likes of Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Adil Rashid and David Willey all likely to be called away for large chunks of the campaign on England duty.
“We haven’t had the best luck with overseas players for a long period of time really because they just haven’t come over and dominated,” said Gale. “So it is in their (Yorkshire players) hands to go and score runs.
“We were lucky to have Pujara last season, we got him for a decent length of time, but his performances still suffered and he didn’t perform well.
“Then you sign somebody like Kane Williamson – who was originally meant to be here for six championship games and ‘x’ amount of T20s – but then that gets cut down because New Zealand want him to have more rest.
“So you really are at the beck and call of the international teams. They pay the players’ wages consistently and that is where they earn their money, so it becomes very difficult.
“One thing we talked about mid-to-late last season was having consistency in selection.
“We feel for a number of years now that with the number of England players we’ve had the harder it has been in terms of selection because they are coming and going.
“But I feel we’ve got a squad this year that are pretty much going to be here for the whole season, as well as for a number of years afterwards – that can only be a good thing.”