ANDREW GALE has spelled out the challenge if Yorkshire are to win their first one-day trophy for 16 years.
The first-team coach believes it will come down to whether Yorkshire can cope in the absence of key players should they reach the Royal London One-Day Cup knockout stages.
Yorkshire could be without England white-ball stars Liam Plunkett, David Willey and Adil Rashid in addition to regular absentees Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow, plus India Test batsman Cheteshwar Pujara.
The quarter-finals on June 14 and the semi-finals on June 17-18 clash with England’s one-day series against Australia, along with India’s one-off Test against Afghanistan.
“The challenging thing if we get to the knockout stages is that we will potentially be without a number of key players,” said Gale, whose side hope to take a step closer to qualification today away to Derbyshire.
“Liam, Dave, Rash and Pujara would all potentially not be around (in addition to Root and Bairstow), and that’s always the challenge for a club like ourselves.
“There’s lads in the second team who might not have played a game in the competition who might end up coming in, but we’ll just have to cross that bridge if we come to it.
“I certainly back the players that we’ve got to take the extra step that we’re looking for in white-ball cricket, but all I’m concentrating on at the moment is winning every game and trying to get into the knockout stages.”
Yorkshire have already been without Plunkett and Willey in this season’s One-Day Cup due to their involvement in the Indian Premier League.
Plunkett missed the first four games (one of them rained off) before returning in Sunday’s nine-wicket victory at Leicestershire while Willey only returns today after his Chennai Super Kings side won the IPL final.
There’s lads in the second team who might not have played a game in the competition who might end up coming in, but we’ll just have to cross that bridge if we come to it.Andrew Gale
“It will be good to have Dave back now in addition to Liam, and Dave’s been texting me every other day lately to say that he’s desperate to play,” said Gale.
“Since Christmas he hasn’t played very much cricket at all, so he’s desperate to get back into it and prove his worth.
“It will be a tough match against Derby; they’ve started well and are becoming quite a good one-day outfit, and they had a decent Twenty20 last year, too.
“By no means will it be an easy game, but it’s a game that we can definitely win.”
Yorkshire go into the match third in the table with two wins, two defeats and one no-result from their opening five games.
Derbyshire sit second having won three out of four, with the top three teams in each of the two groups progressing to the knockout stages, with each side playing eight group fixtures.
Yorkshire have shown enough in their five games to suggest that they can take the extra step this year and potentially go all the way.
However, they are still searching for the perfect game – not least in the field, where Gale believes there is room for improvement.
“The fielding intensity has been poor in some of our games,” he said.
“I went pretty hard at the lads after we played Worcestershire recently because there’s not many things that you can control in cricket, but the energy and intensity and attitude towards fielding is certainly one of them.
“We were poor against Worcestershire at times and looked like a club side fielding, so it’s something that we talked about before the Leicestershire match.
“The lads delivered for the vast majority of the time in that game, but I still think that we’re searching for the perfect performance in the field.”
Gale was delighted with the win at Leicester, which saw good bowling from the likes of Matthew Fisher and a continuation of some splendid form from the top-three batsmen.
Adam Lyth, Tom Kohler-Cadmore and Pujara have all produced telling innings, with Lyth joining his two colleagues in registering a century in this year’s tournament when he struck 132 not out at Grace Road.
“For Lythy to get a hundred was great,” said Gale.
“I’ve been pretty harsh on him lately for getting out in the 30s, but this time he did an excellent job.
“With Adam the talent and ability is always there and when you see him play knocks like that you question why he doesn’t do it more often.
“As a senior player in our team, if we’re being honest, he hasn’t scored the runs that he should have done over the last 18 months, and I just hope this kick-starts him now to be a bit more ruthless.”
Yorkshire have rested pace bowler Ben Coad for today’s one-day match at Derbyshire and will pick from the following 13-man squad: Ballance, Bresnan, Brook, Carver, Fisher, Kohler-Cadmore, Lyth, Patterson (capt), Plunkett, Pujara, Rashid, Tattersall, Willey.