Wednesday, 26 March 2008

2008 Season Preview - Yorkshire

2007 in a nutshell:

Following the turmoil of the previous winter when Chris Adams joined and then left, Anthony McGrath left and then rejoined, and Jacques Rudolph came out of nowhere, the early season had a wonderful momentum to it and Yorkshire led the pack for much of the season. However, with the weather playing a part injuries forcing changes in an otherwise very settled team (eleven players played in ten games or more) at the end of the season, the team faded away. Still in with a shout of the title going into the last game, the eventual sixth place reflects how tight Division 1 was last season. In the shorter version of the game, Yorkshire somehow managed to get into the quarter finals of the 20:20, as Leicester had most of their games washed out. However, the One Day games were used more as a means of giving experience to the youngsters and resting older legs.

2008 prospects:

Both of the overseas players have gone and while both were good club men, neither had the impact that the team wanted. Jason Gillespie in particular was tight rather than threatening. However, with the position of Rana Naved still unclear as the overseas player, it may be down to the local talent to bowl teams out. Morne Morkel, who is touted to be the replacement if Naved doesn’t show up, isn’t anything like as threatening although he would undoubtedly strengthen the One Day side.

Chris Taylor has returned from Derbyshire, probably as a replacement for Craig White at the top of the order, who may concentrate on One Day cricket. However, it is the crop of youngsters coming through who will make or break the season for Yorkshire, with Andrew Gale, Adam Lyth, James Lee and Oliver Hannon Dalby looking to make their breakthrough this season.
Division 1 could be even tighter this year than last as Somerset and Notts look to be better teams than Warwicks and Worcester. However, I would still expect Yorks to be in the hunt on the last day of the season. In the one dayers, promotion may be a reasonable objective in the Pro 40.

Batting:

This is probably the strength of the team. Last year, of the eleven players who played in ten games or more, only Gough and Hoggard didn’t score a century. With Tim Bresnan batting at eight, there is a long line up, which will be looking to capitalise on the Boycottesque qualities of Joe Sayers at the top of the order. McGrath and Rudolph will be looking to score heavily again and the Kolpak in particular has the ability to take the attack to the opposition at this level. Adil Rashid and Gerard Brophy will swap places at 6 and 7 respectively, leaving the number 5 spot open to one of the emerging batsmen – with Andrew Gale likely to get the first opportunity, although Adam Lyth and Greg Wood will also be pushing for the place. Oh and there’s some bloke called Michael Vaughan who may want the occasional game.

Bowling:

England’s dropping of Matthew Hoggard means that he should start the season in a mood to prove the selectors wrong and itching to get his test place back. This should help to kick-start the pace attack which otherwise would be reliant on the aging legs of Darren Gough and the 23 year old veteran Tim Bresnan. The loss of Rana Naved would be a huge blow, with Morkel being nothing like as threatening with the ball. However, Ajmal Shazad showed promise in the matches he played and in James Lee and Oliver Hannon Dalby, there are two bowlers of immense promise looking to make their breakthrough.

Yorkshire have more strength on the spinning front, with the highly rated Adil Rashid looking to kick on again after a successful Lions tour, and David Wainwright and Mark Lawson waiting in the wings. A dry summer could mean Yorkshire taking to the field with more specialist spinners than seamers, a far cry from the steady pace attack that used to frequent Headingly.

Probable side:

Chris Taylor (Michael Vaughan when available)
Joe Sayers
Anthony McGrath
Jacques Rudolph
Andrew Gale
Adil Rashid
Gerard Brophy
Tim Bresnan
Morne Morkel
Darren Gough
Matthew Hoggard

Key Man

To win games, you need to take 20 wickets, so the key man has to be Adil Rashid. He topped the wicket takers last season with 40, despite the weather not being conducive to spin bowling. He was one of the few Lions to come out of the India trip in credit, out bowling Monty Panesar at times. He shouldn’t be needed by England this summer but should be looking to get the second spinners spot on the winter tour.

Rising Star

There are plenty of candidates for this including Greg Wood, the England U19 wicket keeper who is likely to be second in the pecking order should Brophy be injured. However, the rising star isn’t someone I have included him in my probable side, but the batsman likely to be the next in. Adam Lyth played for England U19 last season out scoring more established county players like Billy Godleman and Ben Wright, with a fluent century. He is highly rated at the club and should any of the top five struggle this season, he could make a big impact.

Captain and Coach

There’s not a lot to be said about the captain that hasn’t already been said. However, it is likely to be his last season and it would be unrealistic to expect him to play as much this year. Martyn Moxon was responsible for keeping Anthony McGrath at the club last winter and I’d expect a smooth transition from Gough to McGrath as the season progresses.

5 comments:

The Atheist said...

You forgot to mention the effects of the home crowd's rallying cry.

YORKSHIRE!
YORKSHIRE!
YORKSHIRE!

Tim said...

Top stuff Richard. I would though disagree re Morkel: he looks very impressive to me from what I've seen. Anyway, I like that attack, though the batting looks a touch less impressive. With Rashid, Gough and Hoggard all having vital seasons ahead, your all-round prospects do look pretty good.

Chrispy said...

Well you've kept hold of Rana, so even more depth to the batting and a very threatening early season bolwer. Wickets galore at Headingley in Spring. Not as convincing in limited overs cricket with more youngsters involved, but the spinners and nous of Gough could see you do well in the T20 again. Possibly the strongest line up in the County Champioship with Hoggard and Vaughan available for large parts of the season. A side littered with quality. Hard to see beyond them to be honest.

Richard Lake said...

Tim - you're right about Morkel, I had him confused with his brother, who is more a medium paced lower order batsman.

Chris - as delighted as would be to see Naved, I'll believe it when he's on the pitch for us.

As for the bowling, the first choice line up does look impressive, I'm more worried about the depth with Hoggard likely to be wanted by England and Gough not getting any younger.

Ship said...

Good write up on Yorkshire.

If I was picky I would of liked a mention for Pyrah as I believe he is on the verge of breaking into the championship side plus I dont think Greg Wood will leap frog Simon Guy as the number 2 wicket-keeper just yet. He has to prove himself with the gloves still and if he plays for the seconds it will be as an outfielder.

I believe Lyth is the next in line for breaking through but I feel it could be Andrew Gales season.

I totally agree with the starting line up but no comment on Morkel just yet.