Ottis Gibson targeting Yorkshire CCC success on County Championship and T20 Blast

OTTIS GIBSON has spelled out what a successful season looks like.

By Chris Waters
Tuesday, 12th April 2022, 6:00 am

The Yorkshire first-team coach said: “We haven’t been to Finals Day for a long time in the T20 Blast, so we’d love to do that.

“For a number of years now, we’ve been close in the four-day competition, so if we can get over the line in a four-day season…

“For me, winning is everything.

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Ottis Gibson: New Yorkshire coach has laid out his ambitions for the 2022 season. (Picture: SWPix.com)

“All the conversations (during the build-up to the season) have been about things that are going to make us win, things that are going to make us better.

“We’re really looking forward to getting going now.”

Gibson, 53, takes charge of Yorkshire for the first time in the County Championship against Gloucestershire in Bristol on Thursday.

The former all-rounder has been pleased with preparations, saying that “we have ticked a lot of boxes” during the club’s 
pre-season tour to Dubai and also in friendly games against Durham and the Leeds-Bradford students.

Ottis Gibson. (Picture: SWPix.com)

The Yorkshire job marks a change of pace for the well-respected Gibson, who has been heavily involved with international cricket since 2007.

The West Indian’s resume speaks for itself: he led his home nation to the T20 World Cup in 2012 and also worked as head coach of South Africa, while enjoying stints as bowling coach with England (twice) and Bangladesh.

“2007 I started with England in international cricket, so I’ve been on the road as an international coach since then,” he said.

“I was looking for an opportunity to slow down, come home and give some time back to my family, and I’m honoured and 
delighted to have this opportunity.

“With everything that’s gone on around Yorkshire, I had some conversations with various different people (before taking the job).

“And when I heard from Goughy (managing director of cricket Darren Gough), a very passionate Yorkshireman, about how he wanted to go and help get Yorkshire back on track, I wanted to be a part of that future.”

Gibson was impressed when he researched the role and acknowledged that he inherited a talented squad, one which has been steadily improving in recent times.

Yorkshire have since added to their roster with the signing of Pakistan pace bowler Haris Rauf for the first six Championship games as they target their first four-day silverware since 2015.

“I went on the Internet and I looked at the squad and I saw Ballance, I saw Malan, I saw Bess, I saw Patterson – all these players that are fantastic players,” said Gibson, reeling off names off the top of his head.

“So I thought, ‘well, they’ve got a good squad, they’ve got a world-class facility, why not go and be a part of that positive change that Goughy was talking about?’

“So here I am.

“I’m really excited and I’m ready for the season.”

Gibson, who will have England pair Dawid Malan and Dom Bess available from the start of the Championship campaign, and then hopefully Test captain Joe Root towards the end of the month, wants Yorkshire to challenge in both red-ball and white-ball.

Although Championship cricket has traditionally been the priority of the Yorkshire members, who have a deep fondness and respect for the four-day game, there is a sense that Yorkshire are somewhat overdue in white-ball especially.

Remarkably, it is now 20 years since they last won any white-ball silverware – before some of the current playing staff were even born.

Yorkshire beat Somerset in the Cheltenham and Gloucester Trophy final of 2002, and although they have reached several semi-finals in one-day cricket since then, the crucial last steps have proved maddeningly elusive.

Yorkshire have never won the T20 Blast and have only twice reached Finals Day, but Rauf’s availability for the first five T20 matches is a boost, while Yorkshire have also signed his Pakistan team-mate Shadab Khan and the dynamic New Zealand batsman Finn Allen for the 20-over format.

Khan, the highly-regarded leg-spinning all-rounder, will also play in the first five games and then the final six in the 14-match group stage, while Allen will feature in fixtures six-to-14.

Gibson is delighted with the talented trio, and he has recent experience of Shadab, having been part of the Pakistan Super League competition in which the youngster shone.

“He’s a fantastic T20 player,” said Gibson of Shadab.

“I was at the Pakistan Super League and he was player of the tournament, I think, making runs, taking wickets, full of energy – he brings a lot.

“In T20 cricket, you like all your players to be three-dimensional, but he’s definitely a three-dimensional player who will add value with bat, ball and in the field as well.

“Goughy came to the party on that one (in terms of bringing Shadab to the club).”

It only remains now for Yorkshire to put their pre-season endeavours into practice and to attempt to put a smile back on the faces of their members and supporters.

All roads lead to Bristol as the Gibson era gets ready to begin.

Jimmy Anderson’s county cricket mission: Page 21