Renewed Championship challenge is main goal for Yorkshire's Jason Gillespie

York Press: Jason Gillespie Jason Gillespie

Yorkshire have a new motivation ahead of the forthcoming county season.

Last year it was about trying to complete a fairytale story by winning the LV= County Championship title in their 150th anniversary campaign.

This year it is about starting to prove that they can be long-term title contenders in four-day cricket, according to first-team coach Jason Gillespie.

“Last year was a big year for the club, but every year brings new challenges. The players and support staff will be striving to win that Championship,” said Gillespie, whose side lost out to northern rivals Durham.

“There’s a lot of hunger in that dressing room to do well next season because we finished second and had a chance to finish top.

“We all want to go one better, and we’ve got to find ways to improve our games.

“We don’t want to be seen as one-shot wonders. We want to show that we are a team who can challenge for the County Championship year after year. We played some really good cricket in the Championship last year, and we want to continue that and improve on that. The lads are very excited about what the summer can bring.”

Gillespie and the rest of his coaching staff face an interesting second half of their winter schedule as 22 of the squad, both international and county regulars, are playing cricket abroad.

“A lot of the lads are playing overseas, so they’ll be getting a lot of good outdoor work in,” said the Australian.

“The lads that are staying here will be worked really hard to develop their strengths and things that they’re not quite as strong with. We’re really confident that come the season we’ll be as best prepared as we can be.”

Another Championship challenge is not the only aim for Gillespie and his troops, who were deeply disappointed to bomb out of both limited overs competitions with such a whimper last term.

He added: “We weren’t great in 40-over cricket, which we’ve acknowledged. Last year we started off pretty poorly. The only advantages of that were that it enabled us to give a couple of first-team players a break and give opportunities to young kids.

“Going into the 50-over game, because it’s in a block, we think we can prepare really well for that.

“The Twenty20 competition is another new challenge because it’s in a different structure. We will be ready for that as well.”

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