ANDREW GALE is aiming to take his own advice as he looks to build on his impressive century for Yorkshire against Durham earlier this week.
The White Rose captain showed immense character to first of all drop himself for last week’s clash with Middlesex at Lord’s following a fruitless start to the campaign and then to bounce back against the champions in the best possible way.
Gale’s 124 during days one and two of their drawn match at Emirates Durham represented the highest score in Yorkshire’s first innings and the 16th first-class century of his career.
“The message I always give to the lads is ‘when you’re in form, make sure you cash in and make it count’. You spend a lot of time out of form in this game,” said the 30-year-old.
“It’s important you enjoy the good days, but now it’s important that I take this good form forward.
“It’s about not taking it for granted. The key is not to just do enough. I don’t want the lads to just do enough to stay in the side, I want them to do enough to win us some games of cricket.
“When you get the opportunity at the crease with the bat or the ball, make your contribution count.”
Gale has history for recovering from a shaky start to cash in and go big.
Last year, he threatened to drop himself from the team having scored just one half-century in the first nine innings (six matches) of the campaign, but he did not go through with it.
In his tenth innings, he scored a career best 272 against Nottinghamshire at Scarborough before hitting 103 against Middlesex at Lord’s and 148 against Surrey at Headingley in his next two knocks.
He finished the summer with a career best haul of 1,067 runs from 16 matches at an average of 44.45.
“It gave me a lot of confidence that hundred because it was an ugly hundred if you like,” said Gale of his Durham ton.
“Sometimes you go out and feel brilliant. But I felt absolutely terrible at the start.
“I came off 30 not out (on Sunday) thinking ‘how have I got to 30 there?’ I felt like a walking wicket.
“I felt good going into the game having spent some time in the seconds last week. So to get a hundred and play like I did on the second day, which was much better, gives me a lot of confidence.
“In the circumstances, to leave yourself out is always a difficult thing. To bounce back and get a hundred in the next game - I had only batted three times before that in the first team this summer - on TV against the champions is very pleasing.”
Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie, meanwhile, has heaped praise on Gale for taking the decision to drop himself.
“He is a highly respected leader of the group, and that respect has only been advanced,” he added. “I suppose now the lads realise that sometimes in selection, there are some difficult decisions to be made.
“We’re showing that we’re not afraid to make tough decisions, but they are always in the best interests of our cricket team.”
Gale and Gillespie are set for another tough call this weekend when division one leaders Warwickshire come to Headingley because England duo Joe Root and Gary Ballance should be available.
If York's Jonny Bairstow takes the gloves, Andrew Hodd will miss out. The other fall guy could be Alex Lees, although the opener has not done much wrong in the first four matches.