To say the winter has been a tumultuous time for Yorkshire off the field would be something of an exercise in understatement, though the appointment of Lord Patel as club director and Chair and the subsequent appointment of former West Indian pace bowler Ottis Gibson as Head Coach perhaps gives some reason for optimism.
The pre-season tour to Dubai comprised a duo of two-day games against fellow Division One side Gloucestershire; Gibson praised in particular an unbeaten 115 for recently crowned Pakistan Super League winner Harry Brook and also hailed the performance of young all-rounder George Hill who found himself promoted to the role of opening batter alongside Adam Lyth during the 2021 County Championship season.
The 2022 season sees Yorkshire welcome not only a new Head Coach, but also Kabir Ali, Alastair Maiden and Tom Smith as bowling, batting and Second XI coaches respectively.
Former England pacer Ali joins Yorkshire after coaching stints with multiple franchise teams including the Columbo Kings in the Sri Lanka Premier League and the Chattogram Challengers of the Bangladesh Premier League. Maiden, who is perhaps a lesser-known quantity than his new colleagues, joins from Leicestershire where he has plied his trade in recent years as Head of Academy.
Former captain Gary Balance has announced that he will miss the start of the season to focus on his mental health following his involvement in the racism scandal surrounding Yorkshire CCC and their handling of the Azeem Rafiq allegations.
Ins: Haris Rauf, Shadab Khan (T20)
Outs: Mathew Pillans (Harrogate CC),
Fresh from helping the Hobart Hurricaines to the final of the latest edition of the Big Bash League, Jordan Thompson will be looking to cement his place as a cornerstone of the Yorkshire setup. Describing his performance in the BBL as ‘inconsistent’, Thompson was nevertheless used extensively by the Tasmanian franchise and posted best bowling figures of 3/24 in the Australian T20 competition. His Vitality Blast record sixth-wicket partnership of 141 alongside Harry Brook against Worcestershire was the highlight of many Yorkshire fans’ season and they’ll be hoping for more of the same from the Leeds man in 2022.
Player to watch:
After an Ashes series many England fans were keen to forget the 2022 edition of the U19 Cricket World Cup provided some much-needed enjoyment for followers of the three lions. Amongst an assortment of impressive performances, Yorkshire’s Will Luxton received praise for his mature and intelligent performances with bat in hand including an impressive 47* against a strong South African unit. Having made his List A debut in 2021 the 18-year-old will be on the lookout for opportunities to shine in 2022.
As part of a reciprocal agreement with the Pakistani franchise Lahore Qalanders, Haris Rauf will take up residence in the North of England for the 2022 season. Whilst the signs from the 28-year-old’s limited first-class career are promising, it’s Rauf’s T20 success that will excite the Yorkshire faithful, his 153 T20 wickets come at an average of 22.76, with the Qalanders star striking every 16.2 deliveries. Duanne Olivier will also return, although that could potentially in doubt due to visa issues. For the Natwest T20 Blast Shadab Khan has also been signed, the exciting Pakistan All-Rounder who has 64 international caps and has also captained the side and taken 73 wickets with his leg spin. He will look to form a dangerous spin bowling line up with Adil Rashid and Dom Bess, so expect some dry pitches at Headingley this Summer.
How will they fare?
Yorkshire are in perhaps the most precarious situation of the 18 County sides for the coming season, the three appointments to the assistant coaching roles will have had little over two months with the squad when the season starts, and the club continues to make headlines in both cricketing and non-cricketing media alike. That said, the core group of players remains the same and the appointment of Ottis Gibson is a shrewd one which should provide much needed focus and experience.
Despite having reached Division One of the County Championship and the knock-out stages of the Vitality blast, Yorkshire fans will have been disappointed with their 2021 performance and improvement on last year will be the minimum for many fans. With some overseas star quality added in the form of Haris Rauf, and franchise trophies picked up over winter by the likes of Harry Brook and Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Yorkshire have everything they need at their disposal to mount a very good campaign in 2022.
14-17 April, Gloucestershire vs. Yorkshire, Bristol County Ground, LV= Insurance County Championship
Season Odds (SkyBet):
County Championship Division One – 7/1
Royal London One-Day Cup – 8/1
Vitality Twenty20 Blast – 12/1