Yorkshire club captain Andrew Gale has stood down from the one-day captaincy of the White Rose with immediate effect. He will be replaced by 22-year-old Alex Lees for the rest of Yorkshire’s Royal London One-Day Cup campaign.
The announcement was made during Yorkshire’s game against Somerset at Scarborough, amid a top-order collapse that left then 25-4 after the first ten overs.
“I took the decision after being captain for nearly six years, to step away from the Yorkshire captaincy is always difficult. But I just felt that the last few months have started to get on top of me, exhausted me a little bit, particularly with the Twenty20s and the way things have gone. I think now is the right time really for a fresh voice in the dressing room, a fresh direction, and to get my own form back.
“If I’m being honest, over the last few years my form’s been average and I’ve always prided myself on being a good one-day and Twenty20 player. I think the captaincy held me back a little bit, so I think now is the right time just to step down.
“It was something that I spoke about, I did speak about it with Dizzy [Jason Gillespie] and Martyn [Moxon] after the Roses game at Old Trafford, and they’d sort of talked me out of it. But with the schedule as it is as well, it’s pretty unrealistic to play every game in every format as you get older.
“Martyn said to me that I’ve got to prioritise really Championship cricket with the lads that we’ve got missing with England, and with the inexperience we’ve got in here, they need my runs in the Championship so I’m not going to risk that through one-day cricket. By no means does that mean I don’t want to play one-day cricket and Twenty20 cricket going forward – I do, I want to get my form back. But I think you need continuity of leadership, and whoever they appoint going forward, I’m sure will give them that.
“It is nice to have one captain throughout the club and it would be ideal to have that, but more counties are doing it because there’s so much cricket to be played. Unless you’re 21, it’s bloody difficult to play every single game.”
On the man who will replace him on an interim basis, his 22-year-old colleague Alex Lees, Gale said, “He’s young, he’s done a good job when he’s taken over. He wasn’t even in the Twenty20 side at times this year, so whether they’ll appoint him, that’s a decision for Martyn and Dizzy to make. But I’d like to think that I’m a pretty approachable guy, we can sit down and speak to whoever takes over and have a good relationship going forward across the formats.”
Gale also believes that the burden of captaincy in the shortest format of the game affected his style of play. “In Twenty20 this year, I was almost trying to bat for everyone. When I was younger and naïve really, if long on was back I thought ‘well I’ll just take him on, I’ll hit it over him’. When you’re captain, you think ‘What will the other players think if you get caught out?’, and so there’s a negative on that. I think it will free me up actually, and just get back to playing more positive.
“I could be selfish and carry on going to the end of the year. It was something I thought would happen at the end of the year anyway, but I just think with my injury, now’s the perfect time really.
“I actually think I played better in the Twenty20s this year. A little bit inconsistent, but another hundred runs in my stats and I think I’d have been in a good place, but I still think there’s more to come.
“I’m just concentrating on getting back into the team. I’ve always said to the lads that no-one’s bigger than the club, so I’ve backed that up again. I left myself out last year, I’d like to think it’s the best thing for the club going forward.
“My captaincy has definitely helped my first-class performances. In the Warwickshire [Championship] game after the Twenty20 I felt that I was a bit exhausted going into the game and I didn’t get any runs in the game. I felt that was a bit of a hangover from the Twenty20s, and that’s when I started to think actually, is this right, am I doing myself justice here? Because ultimately, if you keep going and you don’t score any runs, you’ll be out of the team altogether anyway. First and foremost as captain, you’ve got to be in the team because of your runs.”
He is currently recovering from a wrist injury, but is hoping to be fit for Yorkshire’s crucial clash against Durham which starts on Friday.