RELINQUISHING the one-day captaincy at Yorkshire has been something that had been in my mind for the past three or four weeks really.
The last thing I wanted it to do was affect my form. I feel that I have more to offer in one-day cricket and felt having the captaincy was starting to drain and exhaust me a little bit.
I thought now was the right time to step down and have a fresh voice in the dressing room and it will give it some continuity as well.
I spoke to Jason (Gillespie) closely and Martyn (Moxon) as well. They thought it was the right decision as well for the longevity of my career.
The schedule makes it impossible to play every game of the season.
It is relentless at times and as a captain, you take it personally whenever you lose. It starts to grate on you and you are forever asking reasons why and you blame yourself.
At times, I have turned up for games in Championship cricket and still been thinking about the night before or two nights before and Twenty20.
Ultimately, that starts to affect your batting. First and foremost, you respect your team-mates and if you are not scoring runs, then you are no good to anyone. The last thing I wanted to do is for it to affect my form.
Alex Lees has done the one-day captaincy job a little bit this season and has done it well.
Whether the club go down the route of having him there full time from next season, I’m not sure. But it’s a good opportunity for him for the rest of the season to lay a marker down with the lads and build his own side for the future.
In terms of the one-day captaincy, going to South Africa in the Twenty20s the other year was the highlight. We were disappointed to lose the domestic final on finals day, but what a reward to go to South Africa and play in a Champions League against the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and some of the world’s greatest players on the biggest stage.
For someone who hasn’t played full international cricket, it was a fantastic experience; definitely up there.
Onto the Royal London One-Day Cup and the lads were really disappointed to lose to Somerset at Scarborough.
When you are 19-4 or whatever it was, you are always up against it making a big score and we didn’t get out of the blocks and probably misjudged the pitch a little bit and maybe got it wrong at the toss.
But I am sure we’ll learn from it and we are hopefully going to qualify.
It’s now a big time for us and a massive six or seven weeks at Yorkshire with everything to play for. That’s what you want at this time of year. You want to be playing for trophies and that’s exactly what we are doing.
The key thing is to keep the lads level and not too far ahead of ourselves. We need to concentrate on the processes we have been doing so far in the season and make sure we hammer them and perform consistently still.
Onto the Ashes and I saw some of the dismissals on the first day at Trent Bridge and I thought Stuart Broad’s bowling was outstanding. It looked like everything just clicked for him.
To bowl Australia out for 60 was similar to the game we played there a few years back when we bowled Notts out for 69.
Much has been made of Australia not ‘leaving’ the ball and it’s a fine line between being positive and reckless.
You want to go out there and be positive and show intent. But that can be seen as reckless sometimes when you nick the ball. I saw Michael Clarke’s dismissal and I am sure he will have been kicking himself as a leader and someone who has played for so many years.
For someone with the experience he has got, to play a shot like that will have been pretty disappointing. But Test cricket has changed and there’s not as much leaving of the ball. But you still have got to earn that right to get in and establish yourself at the crease.
The partnership between Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow was fantastic to see, particularly for Jonny.
People questioned him straightaway after the Edgbaston test about the short ball. I watched a bit of his innings early on and Mitchell Johnson seemed to throw everything at him.
But he’s up to the task, I’ve always said that. He’s no problem with the short ball and I am sure his innings at Trent Bridge will kick-start his international career again.
***Andrew Gale’s column is in association with Blacks Solicitors***