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Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie hails new recruits
Jason Gillespie has hailed last winter’s three new recruits following a season in which he believes Yorkshire have moved forward as a county.
First-team coach Gillespie oversaw a promotion campaign in 2012 before his strengthened squad mounted a sustained challenge on the LV= County Championship title this summer, only to finish second.
The Australian has singled out his three most recent domestic acquisitions in Jack Brooks, Liam Plunkett and Andrew Hodd, and has reserved particular praise for former Sussex wicketkeeper Hodd.
All three players enjoyed encouraging first full seasons with the club, although Hodd did not play a Championship match after Warwickshire’s visit to Headingley in early August due to the return of Jonny Bairstow from England duty.
“We have made strides,” insisted Gillespie.
“We were promoted late in the season, and this year we strengthened our squad with a couple of key signings in Brooks and Plunkett. Hodd is also an amazing cricketer.
“He’s fantastic, and he’s been a wonderful addition for us. It’s a shame for him he probably hasn’t had the opportunities in the latter part of the season, but it’s been great to have someone of the calibre of Jonny Bairstow back.
“It shows the depth and strength of our squad when someone as good as Andrew Hodd is not able to get a game.
“We are delighted with that, and we know we can build with two quality ’keepers. There’s a real chance we may not see much of Jonny in the future.
“And we know when he’s not there, we have one of the best glovemen in the country waiting and raring to go. He’s as fit as a fiddle, and we know he’s more than capable of doing a job for us.”
Gillespie’s plans for 2014 are already very well advanced.
Not only have the club signed New Zealand batsman Kane Williamson on a full-time overseas deal, they have tied a number of players, both young and experienced, to new contracts.
Phil Jaques may have departed, but stalwart Rich Pyrah has penned a new deal, as have youngsters such as Alex Lees and Jack Leaning, news that was confirmed much earlier in the summer.
“Stability is something we’ve spoken a lot about,” added Gillespie. “We’ve got really good players at the moment, and we’re very conscious that we do need to bring young lads through.
“We’ve signed a lot of our young lads on junior pro contracts, and we’re very excited about some of them. They may take a few years to develop, but that’s okay.
“We know exactly what we’re going to get with Richie Pyrah – a great team man who will always put the team first in every situation.
“We’ve got young lads coming through to put pressure on him and keep challenging him to get better.”
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