At a time of the season when counties traditionally have an eye on the coming year and beyond, the Yorkshire first-team coach says he is “pretty happy with the squad” as it stands and paid tribute to the work of the players and support staff who have helped the club through a period of transition since it last won the County Championship in 2015.
Gale hasn’t completely ruled out the idea of winter recruitment but says it would more likely be forced by such as international call-ups as any desire to reinforce what he feels is an already strong squad.
He says Yorkshire want to back their own players as much as possible – players who helped the club into the top division of this year’s Championship and into the knockout stages of both white-ball tournaments.
Asked whether Yorkshire are likely to make signings during the close-season, Gale said: “No, I don’t think so. I’m pretty happy with the squad, to be honest.
“We’ll have to see how the winter goes with the players that we’ve got, and who knows what’s going to happen with Dawid Malan, for example. We might not see him again (due to England) or he could be back full-time. You don’t know, do you, what with the T20 World Cup coming up and then the Ashes.
“That will probably define his career with England, so we might have him back full-time next year or we might not, so we’ll have to have a look when we know what the situation is.
“We might sign an overseas player, we might not, but I’d love these lads to do the job, the lads that we already have and who’ve done a good job this year. We’re starting to see glimpses of what our young players can do.”
Gale highlights their admirable showing in the Royal London Cup, when Yorkshire reached the quarter-finals with a predominantly young group, as evidence of the squad’s depth.
Yorkshire fielded a number of debutants in that 50-over competition who repaid the club’s faith.
“You always think you’ve got 17/18 players who can play first-team cricket, but I think that competition showed we’ve probably now got 21/22 players who can play first-team cricket,” added Gale.
“A few of the lads got opportunities, they put their hands up and they took their chance. I watched a lot of the games from a distance (while coaching at The Hundred) and it was really pleasing to see.
“It goes back to all the work that all the support staff have done with those young kids, the hours that they’ve spent in the East Stand throughout the winter, the cold nights. Eventually, when you see those lads step up, it’s brilliant to see.
“As a club, we pride ourselves on bringing our own players through and giving them opportunity, so it’s pleasing to see the model that we’ve got is paying off. I think we’ve now got a squad of players which is going to be competing for a number of years.”
Yorkshire’s strategy explains why they ruled out, fairly early in the piece, a permanent move for batsman Sam Northeast, who represented them briefly on loan this season.
Some counties would perceive a player like Northeast, who left Hampshire this summer by mutual consent and is now on loan at Nottinghamshire, as a permanent proposition, but Gale has his eyes on the bigger picture. “You’ve got to be careful, haven’t you, because you want to win now but you also don’t want to be too short-term and block the path of players like George Hill, Matthew Revis, Will Luxton, and so on,” he said.
“Northeast is a good player, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t want to block the path of these young lads that we’ve got coming through.
“Some of them might not be ready next year; it might be a couple of years. But we certainly think that we’ve got some good cricketers on our hands who can play first-class cricket.”
Gale would love to see more of Malan for sure.
Equally, he is happy for the player that he is back playing Tests, and has also bee named in England’s T20 World Cup squad.
“Selfishly, we’d obviously love to see more of Dawid; we haven’t seen a great deal of him since he joined, but he signed with clear aspirations of playing for England in all formats and, ultimately, we’re here to facilitate that and for players to show ambition and play for England, so it’s been brilliant to see his journey,” said Gale.
“I think he’s a lot more mature now as a player and equipped to deal with the pressure of Test cricket.
“You see that a lot with players when they go into the system and then come back out; they’re more equipped to go back into it.
“They know what to expect and, although technically I think he’s probably a similar player (to before), he knows his own game better and he’s a top-class performer.”
England preview: Page 23