Yorkshire CCC faithful should not write off Andrew Gale, urges Alex Lees

ALEX LEES has urged Andrew Gale to remain as Yorkshire captain '“ and insists he is the best man to lead the Tykes in their quest to reclaim the County Championship in 2017.

Thursday, 3rd November 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 5:01 pm
Andrew Gale, pictured immediately after Yorkshire had missed out on a County Championship hat-trick, is considering his future as Yorkshire captain (Picture: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com).

Gale is mulling over whether to remain as captain following the county’s failure to make it a hat-trick of titles in late September, when he revealed that he would take stock “over the next couple of months” before coming to a decision regarding his future.

Gale, who turns 33 at the end of this month, admitted that a “poor year” on the batting front – which saw him score just 525 runs in 15 Championship matches – was a factor to consider.

But one-day captain Lees has no doubt whatsoever that Gale, who has led Yorkshire at first-class level since 2009, should stay on at the helm.

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Lees, 23, tipped by many as the long-term successor to Gale, told The Yorkshire Post: “From a players’ point of view and as a cricket fan, I would like to see Galey do at least another year.

“He is a great leader and a fantastic player. He has been a brilliant and consistent performer over the past decade.

“I think it would be unfair of the Yorkshire faithful to write him off and they should show him a little bit of support and backing. I do not think there is a better man for the job.

“It will obviously be his decision, but if he does decide to step down, I think it would be a real shame. I think he has been pivotal in Yorkshire’s success.

“Dizzy (head coach Jason Gillespie) had been one part of it, but the guy on the field leading the men is the biggest part of it.

“He (Gale) was instrumental in our success and I believe there is still more success for Galey to have as captain.”

While Gale has yet to make his mind up regarding whether to remain as captain or not, the other pressing issue for Yorkshire surrounds appointing a successor to Gillespie.

The closing date for applications for the vacant head coach role is tomorrow.

Director of cricket Martyn Moxon recently revealed that the post had received interest from a number of strong candidates, with the county to conduct a “rigorous recruitment process” before deciding on the new coach.

Several names have been linked including ex-Yorkshire players Richard Dawson, the Gloucestershire coach, and Chris Silverwood, who led Essex to promotion in his first year in 2016.

Australian Brad Hodge, Gillespie’s assistant coach at Big Bash team Adelaide Strikers, is another reported contender.

Whoever is entrusted with the role will certainly have big shoes to fill following the exit of two-time County Championship title winner Gillespie, who helped Yorkshire achieve four successive top-three finishes.

But while acknowledging that fact and the job done by Gillespie, Lees believes that the next chapter for Yorkshire promises to be an exciting one for the players.

On the void left by Gillespie, Lees said: “It is (huge), but I think it is an exciting time for all involved. I believe that first-team coaches can have a shelf-life and it is probably the right time for Dizzy.

“It is a shame as he took the club from a really poor place in being relegated to being promoted and competing and winning the Championship for two years.

“(But) I think as a player it is almost bitter-sweet. It is a shame to lose him, but sometimes you have got to look forward. I am looking forward to whoever comes in and embracing the change.

“It is exciting. We will have that new feeling of someone else coming in who you have got to impress and with a different ideology of how they want to play their cricket.

“Everybody starts off on a clean slate and level playing field. Personally, I enjoy the challenge of re-cementing my place within the teams and continuing my development.

“I look back at when Dizzy came in and in the previous year, I’d had a modest second-team year and he came in and it rejuvenated me as a player.

“I had a good second-team year, played really well and was afforded a first-team chance. I think it is an exciting time for everyone.”

Meanwhile, Lees says he has taken plenty from his first year as one-day captain, when the county reached the semi-finals of the NatWest T20 Blast and Royal London One-Day Cup.

But he believes there is plenty of room for personal improvement, more especially in the fifty-over format on the batting front.

Lees said: “My first year of captaincy was always going to be tough in terms of getting used to the routine of it on and off the field with the relationship between the coaches and players.

“At times, I found it testing. But I feel, on the whole, we had two decent campaigns, which was pleasing, and that I made some good decisions on the field.

“Something I would like to put right is that I played okay in the Twenty20 stuff, but in the one-day stuff, I fell below my high standards and it is something that I would like to put right and lead from the front with my runs, more than anything else.”