Yorkshire target competitive edge to push for successful 2020

YORKSHIRE BELIEVE that they are in a strong position moving towards 2020, with the club set to announce record profits and confident that they can have a crack at winning all three competitions next summer.

Tuesday, 17th December 2019, 1:34 pm
Yorkshire CCC chief executive, Mark Arthur. Picture: Tony Johnson.

The club are expected to announce a seven-figure profit on the back of last summer’s World Cup and Ashes bonanza, plus the opening of their new main stand and attendant commercial spin-offs.

They also believe that they are assembling a squad that can win silverware after four years without a trophy, having recruited England’s Dawid Malan and West Indies’ Nicholas Pooran.

Yorkshire are shortly expected to announce overseas spin bowling cover for 2020, which will further strengthen their hopes in the County Championship.

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Yorkshire's Dawid Malanin action for England during the recent T20 series against New Zealand. Picture: Chris Symes/Photosport/Getty

Mark Arthur, the Yorkshire chief executive, said: “I believe that the club is in a very strong position on-and-off the field going into 2020.

“We will be announcing in the new year record profits for the club – it’s been a very successful year for us commercially.

“And I think that with the recruitments that we’ve made to the playing staff, along with the extra year’s experience that some of our younger players have had, we can have a good year on the field as well.

“We’ve got a stronger-looking squad next year, and I do believe that we will be competitive in all three formats.”

SAME AGAIN PLEASE: Yorkshire's Nicholas Pooran hits out against Lancashire. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

2019 has been a good year for Yorkshire off the field. The new stand has been well received, affording one of the best views in world cricket, and there is a sense of a ground that has risen to the challenges and demands of the 21st century having once been one of the least aesthetically pleasing on the circuit.

The chief disappointment was on the pitch where, beyond the great success of the Headingley Ashes Test and four World Cup games, Yorkshire’s form was mediocre.

They finished fifth in the Championship First Division, fifth in the T20 Blast North Division and sixth in the Royal London Cup North Group.

“The only missing thing in 2019 has been a trophy for Yorkshire County Cricket Club,” said Arthur.

“At the same time, I thought that in the County Championship, for example, we actually played better in parts than perhaps the final table and results would suggest.

“We believe that we will be more competitive on the field next season.

“But 2019 has certainly been successful in terms of the club being able to attain record profits.

“We’ve also been able to do that without any noticeable increase in the head count of off-the-field staff.”

2020 does not promise to be so financially beneficial. Yorkshire do not have a Test match or a one-day international; their England programme consists of T20 internationals against Australia on July 7 and against Pakistan on August 29.

The club return to the Test rota the following year when they welcome India, with Tests against New Zealand in 2022 and Australia in 2023 to follow.

However, Headingley is one of the eight centres chosen to stage The Hundred, where it will host the Northern Superchargers men’s and women’s teams coached by Darren Lehmann and Danielle Hazell respectively.

“Financially, 2020 won’t be so profitable for us because we don’t have a Test match,” said Arthur. “At the same time, there’s the new 100-ball format and the fact that we’re hosting our first two T20 internationals.

“We’ve got to go again (in 2020) and there can be no complacency in the set-up. We’ve still got a large debt to service (it was around £20m at the start of the year) and the more successful we are on-and-off the pitch, the sooner that will start to come down.”

The fixtures for the new season have just been announced, and Arthur is delighted with the outcome.

Yorkshire play Lancashire at Scarborough in the Championship for the first time since 1991, while York is to build on its successful staging of last summer’s Championship game against Warwickshire by hosting its first cricket festival, with matches against Northamptonshire and Surrey in the Royal London Cup and two games for the Northern Superchargers women.

“I’m really pleased with the fixture programme,” said Arthur.

“We worked hard to retain a Championship fixture at Emerald Headingley at the height of summer, and we’re delighted that we’re able to take Lancashire to Scarborough in June.

“We’re very pleased to have secured the one Championship slot in August at Scarborough to entertain Warwickshire; Scarborough have got a fantastic schedule of cricket, and we’re also very pleased that we were able to work with the ECB on creating a festival week at York.

“We try to be very proactive with the fixture programme – we have to dovetail fixtures with Leeds Rhinos – and it promises to be another good year.”