Yorkshire’s rebuilding plans gather pace as Jack Brooks departs

Just champion: Yorkshire's Jack Brooks celebrates with the trophy in 2014.
Just champion: Yorkshire's Jack Brooks celebrates with the trophy in 2014.
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MARTYN MOXON says Yorkshire are in transition after Jack Brooks joined Somerset on a three-year deal.

The popular pace bowler, a key part of the 2014 and 2015 County Championship-winning sides, is moving to Taunton at the end of the season.

The offer of a third year swung the decision, with Brooks turning 37 during that year. Yorkshire’s offer was for two years pending a review next summer over a possible extension.

Brooks’s departure follows that of fellow pace bowler Liam Plunkett to Surrey, batsman Alex Lees to Durham, the retirement of wicketkeeper Andrew Hodd and as uncertainty surrounds the future of leg-spinner Adil Rashid.

It has led some to suggest that Yorkshire are in turmoil with senior players leaving as the side struggles at the wrong end of the County Championship.

But director of cricket Moxon insists that all the departures are amicable, that they are the inevitable consequence of an ongoing rebuilding process and that the club are looking to make two more signings before the end of the season.

Yorkshire's Jack Brooks: Somerset offer too good to turn down.

Yorkshire's Jack Brooks: Somerset offer too good to turn down.

Yorkshire recently recruited leg-spinner Josh Poysden and pace bowler Mathew Pillans and expect to hear soon whether former England batsman Ben Duckett has agreed to join them. Moxon also says that the club will continue their policy of bringing through young players such as Harry Brook and Jonny Tattersall around the senior core.

“On the face of it, with Jack Brooks leaving, Liam Plunkett having left earlier, Andrew Hodd retiring and Alex Lees leaving, it looks as though we’ve got a club in turmoil potentially,” said Moxon. “However, there are very good reasons for these decisions.

“Jack’s had an extremely good offer from Somerset; by his own admission, our offer was good but theirs was better, and, at his age, he found it difficult to resist that third year.

“With Liam, it was about availability and trying to get a squad together that’s available and affordable within the budget that we’ve got. Andrew Hodd himself decided to retire, which we fully accept and understand, and with Alex Lees it was agreed by Alex and ourselves that it was the best thing for his future and career.

We were always going to have a period of transition. Good teams have to be broken up for various reasons, and it’s a rebuilding process.

Yorkshire’s Martyn Moxon

“All these decisions have been very amicable and it’s just what happens in professional sport. Teams at times need rebuilding, and I’ve known for a couple of years that this period was going to have to happen.

“We were always going to have a period of transition. Good teams have to be broken up for various reasons, and it’s a rebuilding process.

“We’re trying to bring in players who will create competition for places and strengthen the squad, and our challenge is to continue to introduce our young players into the team around a solid core of senior professionals, which we’ve already started with the likes of Jonny Tattersall, Harry Brook, Matthew Fisher, Ben Coad and so on.

“We’re looking to bring in a couple more players and, now that Jack Brooks is leaving, we will intensify our work in that respect.”

Moxon said that Yorkshire are naturally sorry to lose Brooks, who signed from Northants at the end of 2012.

Since then, the man affectionately known as ‘The Headband Warrior’ has taken 276 County Championship wickets at 26.91, and he was leading wicket-taker in both the 2014 and 2015 title-winning years and also when Yorkshire narrowly missed out on the hat-trick in 2016.

“We’re very disappointed to be losing Jack,” said Moxon. “He’s been a fantastic servant for us over the last six years and a very popular member of the team, as well as being popular with our members.

“However, we made him the best offer that we could under the circumstances and we fully understand his reasons for taking up the offer from Somerset. We wish Jack well for the future.”

Brooks said that he will be leaving with “a genuine tear in my eye” and with a “heavy heart”, describing it as “a rather surreal journey.”

“I’ve had some incredible times here and made some lifelong close friends,” he said. “If I’m remembered at all for representing the club with a smile on my face, some passion and being a small cog in a well-oiled Yorkshire cricket machine during our back-to-back Championships in 2014 and 2015, then that’s good enough for me.

“Since joining, I never imagined I’d leave by my own choice. However, all good things come to an end, and Somerset have offered me a new and very exciting opportunity which, after extremely careful consideration, I have accepted.

“Thank you to all the fantastic supporters who have been so kind to me and taken me as one of their own for the past six years; it really does mean a huge amount.

“I will be giving my all for the rest of the season and hope to contribute some more match-winning performances to the team and keep us in Division One.”