Yorkshire skipper Andrew Gale looks ahead to the 2014 county season
THERE’S always a lot of eagerness and anticipation at this time of year and in terms of what people can expect from Yorkshire in 2014, what I will say is I believe there is the best bunch of players I’ve ever played with here.
We have definitely got the ability, but we know that to get over the line in the trophies we are competing in, we must be consistent.
After last year, I certainly detect there’s a hunger about winning trophies. We don’t just want to turn up and compete and that attitude runs through all of our players.
Maybe there is a bit more expectation on us as well this year. But I have always said that this group of players perform better under pressure.
Last year on reflection was a good year. But just missing out on the County Championship title hit the lads hard as we put so much time and effort into the season.
It was a weird feeling sitting in the dressing room, having had such a good season, but not to come out with a trophy. It actually felt we were bottom of the league not towards the top.
It has fuelled the lads’ appetite to push on and win a trophy this year. But we are not just thinking about the County Championship, one-day and Twenty20 cricket is important to us and it wasn’t good enough in that aspect last season.
In terms of the County Championship, it looks really open. With some England players being available at the start of the year, it’s going be a tough competition.
It’s one of the leagues where if you don’t quite turn up and lose a session here and now, it can really cost you in the long run. We are really going to have to be at the top of our game from the word go really.
Looking at things, we certainly need more wins at Headingley. That is something we have tried to address with the pitches over the years to try and produce results wickets.
Personally, it’s been a frustrating time as I have been out for three months now with a hip injury during the off-season. In the past two or three weeks, it’s been a bit of a race against time, trying to be fit for the Championship opener against Somerset at Taunton, which starts tomorrow. But I am confident I will be in that team. Looking at pre-season, Adam Lyth has done well and did well over in Sri Lanka, while Alex Lees has scored a few runs. Adil Rashid also did well overseas.
In terms of selections over the season, I will have definitely some headaches and sleepless nights at some stage! Especially when Tim Bresnan and Joe Root come back and it will be tough on a couple of lads. But I would rather be in that position than to have to scratch a team together.
With the schedule as it is now following some changes to the calendar, we have a better opportunity to give all three competitions a good go.
The schedule will still be tough on bowlers in terms of playing a four-day match and then one day off before switching to Twenty20 cricket and we will manage that. But we can definitely go for all three trophies.
We have a good squad and we will need it as we don’t know who is going to be called up by England at various times of the season. It’s important we don’t just have 11 players, we need a lot more to play their part.
We have a lot of young players here at Yorkshire and people will get opportunities again. We pride ourselves on our academy and we have seen what the likes of Alex Lees have done when they get their chance.
The under-19s lads have had a good winter. Will Rhodes captained the England Under-19s, while Jonny Tattersall and Matthew Fisher all took part. If they get an opportunity with Yorkshire, I am sure they will grasp it. In terms of the T20, we didn’t back up the success of 2012 and in our eyes, improving on that is something we have worked really hard on this winter. We had four or five games in Sri Lanka and sat down as a team and addressed some areas we needed to. I feel like we made some progress.
Kane (Williamson) will be about and Aaron Finch and I am hoping we can really push towards the top.
Aaron is an exciting player and we have all seen what he can do when he has played against us and he is doing to be a big player for us. But we are certainly all going to have to contribute around him.