Yorkshire Season Preview 2024

Yorkshire Season Preview 2024

Yorkshire have been mired in controversy for far too long and it does not seem to be going away as they will be starting the season with a new managing director of cricket, with Darren Gough announcing he is standing down. He took the role in December 2021, replacing Martyn Moxon and has had to negotiate the club out of the Azeem Rafiq racism scandal. He appointed Ottis Gibson as head coach and overhauled the men’s squad, as well as being active in developing the women’s game notably in the shape of Hundred side Northern Diamonds.

It is unclear whether his departure is related to the recent re-election of Colin Graves as club chairman, following his controversial appointment as a non-executive director. His re-emergence is due to the severe financial difficulties Yorkshire find themselves in and according to chief executive Stephen Vaughan, the takeover by the consortium led by Graves was the only deal that “that will keep the business solvent going forward”. The financial problems are in part due to the loss of sponsors following the racism row and pay outs that have been made to sacked staff who won claims for unfair dismissal. None of this can have a positive impact on the playing and coaching staff as they take part in a pre-season tour to Abu Dhabi.

Last summer was always going to be difficult and a 48 point deduction in the County Championship did not help their cause. However, despite a loss to Leicestershire at Headingley in their first match of the season, they only lost one more game, winning three. They were without their new captain Shan Masood for half their championship fixtures, due to international commitments, but he still posted 720 runs at 60.00. He was signed on a two year deal so returns this summer on a more permanent basis given the T20 focus for international sides over the coming months.

Adam Lyth was their top run scorer, passing the 1000-run mark for the fourth time, but it will be the performance of his opening partner, 21-year-old Finlay Bean that will bring the most satisfaction. He scored 983 runs at 46.80 with three centuries. Yorkshire have a number of other youngsters who are already performing in the first team, with George Hill scoring 694 championship runs at 36.52 , all-rounder Matthew Revis making 487 runs at 44.27 and James Wharton 349 runs at 38.77 from his six matches. Yorkshire have a number of England players who may become available. Harry Brook has been taking time out, having pulled out of the IPL while Joe Root is not involved in any cricket following the completion of the India Test series. Either may wish to get some time in the middle before the West Indies Test series starts in July, with Brook also in contention for a place in the T20 World Cup squad. Jonny Bairstow is currently playing in the IPL, while Dawid Malan has announced that he is stepping back from red ball cricket. Neither were involved in the T20 series against the West Indies before Christmas, but will also be in consideration for the T20 World Cup.

The batting is backed up by a more than useful pace attack, if they can stay fit and it was Ben Coad who led them last season with 36 championship wickets at 20.22, followed by Jordan Thompson with 30 and Matt Fisher with 28. Injuries were a significant problem throughout the season, with new-signings Matt Milnes and Mickey Edwards barely getting on the field, so they will be pleased that their squad has not been weakened by any significant departures.

The one new full time recruit is left arm spinner Dan Moriarty, who displaced Dom Bess from the first team when he played on loan in June and July last year. Moriarty took five wickets on his debut against Gloucestershire and two more against Sussex but the remaining two matches were weather affected. Bess went out on loan to Warwickshire and then his old club Somerset, but regained his place for the latter half of the season as Moriarty returned to Surrey. Both remain in the squad and it is assumed that Moriarty will get the nod. It might be difficult to keep both players happy.

The Vikings’ were competitive in the Blast, recording six wins from 12 completed games. They missed out on a quarter final spot and were then deducted four points as part of the racism penalty, two weeks after the final had been played. (We don’t understand either!)

They will obviously be much stronger if Malan and Bairstow are not needed at the T20 World Cup, but if not, should still be in the hunt for a knock out spot. With the unavailability of overseas players involved in the World Cup, they have recruited South African batting all-rounder Donovan Ferreira for the competition. He is a powerful hitter and has played twice for the South African national side in this format. Meanwhile, in the One Day cup they will be looking to improve on the two wins recorded in last year’s competition.

Key player

Yorkshire will be targeting promotion in the Championship and that requires wins on pitches that last year generally offered little assistance to the bowlers in Division Two. Ben Coad is now 30 and has been at the club since he was a junior. He has 246 first class wickets at a miserly 20.2, producing solid performances year on year. Yorkshire will hope he and the other bowlers stay fit this season and if they do they will cause plenty of problems for the opposition batters.

One to watch

Finlay Bean will turn 22 as the season starts, but already he is looking the part as an opening batter, falling just short of the 1000-run mark last summer. Clearly he has an excellent role model at the other end in Adam Lyth and between them they have the ability to put opposition attacks under pressure. He scores his runs at a sedate pace by modern standards and has not yet played in the Blast. Given his obvious talent, it will be interesting to see whether his focus remains on the longer format.

Overseas signings: Shan Masood (Pakistan), Donovan Ferreira (South Africa, for T20)

Ins: Dan Moriarty (Surrey)

Outs: Will Fraine (released), Jack Shutt (released), Ben Mike (Leicestershire)

How will they fare: Despite the mess that is Yorkshire cricket club, they still have a very strong squad and their promotion efforts last year were only thwarted by injuries to their bowlers and a 48 point deduction. They will surely be at the top of Division Two as well as posing a threat in the white ball competitions. It is great to see so many young players coming through their Academy.

Opening fixture: CC vs Warwickshire on April 5 at Edgbaston


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