ANDREW GALE has revealed he cannot remember exactly what he said to annoy Lancashire’s players during the 2011 season to spark a couple of spicy Roses LV= County Championship clashes.
The Yorkshire captain is thought to have tipped the Red Rose side to be relegated in an interview prior to that summer, only to see them complete the double and go on to win the title for the first time in 77 years.
To rub salt into the wound, Gale’s Yorkshire were the ones relegated.
The two counties meet for the first time in a Roses Championship match since 2011 at Headingley on Sunday with the boot firmly on the other foot.
Yorkshire are top of division one and Lancashire are struggling. All roads point to a White Rose victory.
But Gale, who got involved in an on-field verbal battle with England’s Jimmy Anderson during the early season match at Liverpool three years ago, is refusing to count his chickens.
“There was a little bit mentioned about something I’d said in the press about them being possibly relegated, but I never recall saying that,” he said.
“You know me well enough to know that I wouldn’t go around saying ‘Lancashire will be relegated this season’, so I don’t know whether it was misheard or what. But it certainly spiced things up, and it was actually quite good to play in those games.
“You want to play in a Roses game, and you want it to feel like it’s a Roses game.
“There’s a line you don’t want to cross, and you don’t want teams verbally abusing each other, but you want the cricket to be played hard and fair.
“There’s a lot of history and tradition surrounding this fixture. I’ll certainly want the lads to go out and play for the White Rose and hit their straps."
Added the Yorkshire skipper: Lancashire have some some experienced players.
“They haven’t started as well as they would have liked. But, looking down their team, they’ve got some great performers. Glen Chapple, you look at his career, he’s been a great ambassador for the game.
“Ashwell Prince has always been a world-class batsman who’s done it on the biggest stage. They’ve got some key players.
“Like I’ve said about any team in this division, if you’re not quite on it, they’ll walk all over you. We’ve got to be switched on.”
Lancashire have suffered a disruptive start to the new season. They lost coach Peter Moores after two matches to England and have been without key seamer Kyle Hogg for all but one match due to a calf injury.
He is likely to miss out again having pulled a hamstring this week.
Seamer and captain Chapple, aged 40, who has coaching ambitions beyond is playing career, is in charge of first-team affairs both on and off the field.
“Chappie’s a great bloke,” added Gale, who has designs on a coaching career of his own in the future. “His stats and the way he plays the game, he’s an ambassador for the game.
“Like you say, I eventually want to go into coaching as well, although I’m not sure whether I’ll go straight in at first-team level. But he’s doing something that I guess a lot of county cricketers on the circuit would love to do.”
• YORKSHIRE warmed up for tonight’s fixture with three wins over Sheffield, Harrogate and a select York team at Clifton Park.
A 600-plus crowd saw a fine 95 from New Zealand international Kane Williamson as the Vikings (237-3) beat a York League Select XI by 118 runs.
Said captain Andrew Gale: “If you execute your plans, confidence will come.”