ANDREW GALE has stuck two fingers up at his critics by telling them that their whinging and whining only drives him to get out of bed each day.
The Yorkshire first-team coach has suffered his fair share of criticism again this season, particularly on social media, with the club fighting at the wrong end of the County Championship table after narrowly avoiding relegation last year, his first in charge.
But the man who followed in the formidable footsteps of Jason Gillespie, under whom he captained Yorkshire to back-to-back Championships in 2014 and 2015, could yet steer his side to a top-three Championship finish, having already piloted them to the One-Day Cup semi-finals.
The prospect of Yorkshire’s first T20 silverware coming next month is by no means fanciful on the evidence of their best performances in the group stage, from which they are well-placed to qualify going into tonight’s sell-out match against Lancashire at Emerald Headingley (7.00pm start).
However, every batting collapse in the Championship, or white-ball setback, is invariably followed by criticism – not least on the club’s own social channels.
That criticism has been stilled – for the time being at least – by successive T20 wins over Leicestershire and Northants, which followed a brace of defeats to Derbyshire, plus a vital victory at Lancashire in the Championship that lifted Yorkshire out of the relegation zone.
While fully accepting that people are entitled to their views, Gale hit back in typically candid style when he said: “I feel we’ve had a good couple of weeks overall, and it certainly drowns out the negative voices for a while.”
Asked to reflect on the criticism that he has personally received, Gale added: “I always seem to take quite a lot of abuse whenever I look on social media, which is few and far between, and there were a few disgruntled voices after the matches against Derbyshire.
“But we’ve hit back to win two T20s on the bounce, and although we haven’t won any trophies or anything, I’m proud of the boys.
“It just keeps the negative voices at bay for a while, and all the criticism does is drive me to get out of bed every day.”
Gale was not unaccustomed to criticism during his playing days.
Never, by his own admission, the most naturally talented batsman, his place was sometimes questioned but he eked out every last drop of his skill and was as bloody-minded as they come, not to mention an inspirational leader.
“Some people seem to have it against me, I don’t know why,” he said. “It was always tough to follow Dizzy’s footsteps and what we achieved, but I think we’re going in the right direction at the minute as a club.
“I think it’s easy for people to criticise from a long distance, from a long way away. A lot of them probably don’t even come and watch our cricket.”
For all the negative voices, there are many quick to appreciate Gale’s efforts and also the challenges that he has had to cope with this year.
These include Adil Rashid giving up red-ball cricket for Yorkshire and now missing their white-ball campaign due to his Test call; Liam Plunkett and David Willey going to the Indian Premier League on the eve of the season; Cricket Australia cancelling pace bowler Billy Stanlake’s T20 deal; New Zealand Cricket shortening Kane Williamson’s stay; Matthew Fisher and Tom Kohler-Cadmore being whisked away by the Lions, and so on.
“The criticism can be hard because, man and boy at this club, I’ve put everything into it,” added Gale.
“There’s not a day goes by that I don’t give the job 100 per cent.
“To get criticism is harsh, but I’ve made a career out of proving people wrong and, as I say, it gets me out of bed every day.
“I was never the most talented player in the world, but I just worked hard and, as a coach, all I’m doing is working hard and trying to get the best out of my players.”
Gale and his men probably need two more wins from their last four group matches to secure a T20 quarter-final place.
Lancashire are hot on their heels, but the Red Rose have suffered three defeats and an abandonment since narrowly beating Yorkshire at Old Trafford last month.
“We’re in a good spot,” said Gale. “The Derby games were a bit of a speed bump for us; Derby seem to be a bit of a bogey team for us of late.
“But, in the scheme of things, it might just have been the kick up the backside that we needed.
“T20 is a game of confidence and momentum, and all that matters now is that we try and beat Lancashire.”
Yorkshire (from): Ballance, Bresnan, Brook, Brooks, Fisher, Kohler-Cadmore, Leaning, Lyth, Patterson (captain), Rafiq, Tattersall, Thompson, Williamson, Willey.