ANDREW GALE made an interesting comment recently when appraising Yorkshire’s T20 performance.
“It’s got to the stage now where you almost need two different squads to compete in all competitions,” said Gale, whose side came second-bottom of the T20 North Group.
“You need to have players whose entire seasons are based around the one-day stuff, and players whose seasons are based around the County Championship.
“You can’t expect everyone to play in each and every game.”
There will always be some crossover, of course, particularly when it comes to batsmen, but after Gale’s decision to relinquish the T20 and one-day captaincy of Yorkshire last week, while continuing to lead in the County Championship, he has effectively applied this philosophy to himself.
Although he hopes to continue to play some one-day cricket, Gale has accepted that he can no longer play in every game, with Yorkshire’s one-day record having not been good for some time, and his own one-day form having suffered too.
At 31, he is no spring chicken – more of an autumn chicken, you might say – and the mental strains of captaincy add to the physical demands of a tiring schedule.
Better to concentrate, he has concluded, on trying to play his full part in ensuring that Yorkshire remain the finest team in the County Championship and let someone else worry about the one-day leadership.
That someone, for the time being at least, is Alex Lees, nine years Gale’s junior, before the club announce a long-term successor.
It could yet be Lees, who would do himself no harm if he could take Yorkshire deep in the Royal London Cup, where they are handily placed to reach the quarter-finals.
Yorkshire intend to appoint from within their existing squad, rather than sign someone specifically for the job.
Split captaincy is, perhaps, not absolutely ideal, but there is no reason why Yorkshire cannot make it work as there is such a natural dividing line anyway between their County Championship and one-day form. Explaining his decision, Gale said: “I just felt that over the last few months the one-day captaincy had started to get on top of me and affected me a little bit, particularly in the Twenty20s.
“Now is the right time for a fresh voice in the dressing room and a fresh direction, and it might help me get my own form back.
“If I’m being honest, over the last few years, my one-day form’s been average and I’ve always prided myself on being a good one-day and T20 player.
“I think the captaincy held me back a little bit, so hopefully this is the best thing all round,” he concluded.
It was a selfless decision by Gale, who has long preached the mantra that no one is bigger than the club.
As a Championship captain, his record speaks for itself.
Going into the current game against Durham at Scarborough, Gale had presided over 32 wins, 37 draws and just eight defeats in 77 matches. As such, his position in the pantheon of Yorkshire captains is already guaranteed.