ANDREW GALE believes “a fresh voice and new ideas” are needed in the shorter formats of the game after his decision to stand down yesterday as Yorkshire’s one-day captain.
Although Gale was not playing in this match due to a wrist injury, and while Yorkshire are nearly through to the quarter-finals of the Royal London Cup, this six-wicket defeat to Somerset proved the truth of the outgoing captain’s comments.
For whatever happens from here, and regardless of Yorkshire’s progress in this competition, their one-day cricket has been inconsistent for some time, as evidenced by the way they were bowled out for 175 yesterday before Somerset prevailed with 11.5 overs to spare.
True, it was an uncharacteristically poor display, Yorkshire at one stage 97-8 and grateful to a last-wicket stand of 67 between Matthew Fisher and Karl Carver, but in the six years of Gale’s leadership Yorkshire only once reached T20 Finals Day, while the club have not managed a one-day final since 2002.
Gale, who will remain as captain in the County Championship, where Yorkshire look nailed-on for a second successive title, will still be available to play as a batsman in one-day cricket.
Alex Lees, the 22-year-old opening batsman, has been placed in charge for the rest of the 50-over campaign before the club decide on a long-term successor.
That could yet be Lees, who has done a good job overall in Gale’s absence through an injury that will not keep him out of tomorrow’s Championship match against Durham here.
However, the need for a rethink of one-day strategy is clear, with Yorkshire missing a chance to seal their quarter-final place yesterday, although knowing that victory over Northants in their final match at Headingley on August 18 would definitely be enough should other results before then not go their way.
Often, particularly in T20, it can feel as though there are two different Yorkshires – the one that plays in the Championship, and the one that plays in the one-day stuff – and it did again as they crashed to 7-3 and then 22-4 after winning the toss.
First, Andrew Hodd tried to work the fourth ball of the match from Josh Davey through mid-wicket towards the West Stand and was trapped lbw.
Glenn Maxwell, who has recently found form, got off the mark with a sumptuous on-driven four off Davey before perishing to a leaping catch at mid-wicket by Jack Leach off Craig Overton.
Lees marked his temporary accession by falling to a catch behind off Davey, and Gary Ballance chopped on to Overton.
To say that it was not what the 4,967 crowd had expected to see at the start of the 129th Festival was an understatement, given that Yorkshire had lost only one of six prior to this game.
There were long sunny spells and pleasant temperatures, while there were few vacant spaces among the wooden benches on the popular bank.
After their initial collapse on a pitch offering bounce and movement, Yorkshire rebuilt through Jack Leaning and Will Rhodes, who added 70 in 19 overs.
But Rhodes’s dismissal triggered a second collapse as Yorkshire lost 5-16.
Rhodes was bowled by left-arm spinner Leach, Trego then taking three wickets when Tim Bresnan was caught at first slip, Leaning held at point for the top score of 40, and Rich Pyrah caught behind.
When Jack Brooks hit Leach to deep mid-wicket, Yorkshire were 108-9 and in danger of falling short of their lowest one-day total against Somerset – 110 at Scarborough in 1977.
But Fisher and Carver combined in a 69-ball tenth-wicket stand, the highlight of which was an extraordinary paddle for six by Fisher off Tim Groenewald before Trego finally bowled Fisher off the penultimate delivery.
The last-wicket hurrah failed to paper over the collective cracks, but at least it gave Yorkshire something to bowl at.
The hosts managed only one wicket in the powerplay as Bresnan had Adam Hose caught behind. Trego breezed in and breezed out, greeting Fisher’s introduction into the attack by smacking him for a six and a four before top-edging his third ball to the wicketkeeper, leaving Somerset 61-2.
Yorkshire missed two chances to remove Tom Cooper – Lees shelling him at slip off Fisher with the score on 75, and Pyrah missing him off his own bowling in the next over.
Fisher eventually sent Cooper packing, caught by Ballance at mid-wicket, but Tom Abell (80) and James Hildreth effectively settled it with a stand of 71 in 16, Abell falling just before the end when he was caught down the leg-side off Rhodes.
Abell’s was the display of the day, his 80 came off 112 balls and included 10 fours.