ANDREW GALE has told his Yorkshire players to stick to their NatWest T20 Blast game plan despite losing their opening match last Friday.
The White Rose captain is refusing to get too down about a three-wicket defeat to champions Northamptonshire, in which the visitors chased down 163 in the last over, because he was pretty pleased with the Vikings performance.
Yorkshire have a history of losing their opening match of a T20 campaign having done so in each of the last five seasons dating back to 2010, with all five of those defeats coming at Headingley.
They return to competitive action against Warwickshire at Edgbaston this Friday.
“The lads were gutted,” said Gale. “From a batting point of view, we lost too many wickets. It was all a bit frantic I thought early on, but I still thought we had enough runs on the board to win the game.
"The way Tim Bresnan and Liam Plunkett played to get us back in the game was top-drawer.
“From a bowling point of view, I felt we were still probably in four-day mode with our lengths early on. Then we just didn’t quite nail our yorkers at the end.
“It’s important as a squad that we don’t get too down about it because I thought we did some really good things. You don’t want the lads to start nit-picking at things in a game where you lose a close one.
“That’s Twenty20 cricket, and that’s what it’s like. You just want to keep the lads going out and expressing themselves.
“I actually thought we did some really good things and probably enough to win the game on another day.
“Had we got beaten by a big margin, I’d have thought ‘back to the drawing board’. But if we continue to do some of the stuff we did the other night, I’m sure it will start to turn itself around.”
Slipping to 87-6 in the 13th over really hurt Yorkshire even though they managed to post 162-7.
Five of their top six batsmen, all with the exception of Gale’s three, reached double figures without going on to post a stand-out score. Kane Williamson hit 17, Joe Root 13, Gary Ballance 12, Jonny Bairstow 24 and Adil Rashid 12.
“Being 80-6 is not good enough in T20 cricket. The lower order isn’t going to get you out of jail on a regular basis,” added Gale.
“Someone from the top five needs to stand up and get 50, 60 or 70 to set the game up. We bat so deep that we can probably afford to keep wickets in hand if anything.
“I didn’t want to go too much into it with the lads the other night because, like I say, you don’t want to start second guessing yourself and lose that fearless edge.”
Meanwhile, former Yorkshire and England batsman Phil Sharpe has died aged 77 following a short illness. He won the County Championship seven times with the county in a 20-year first-class career between 1956 and 1976.
He played 12 Test matches for England, scoring one hundred.
Andrew Gale is a director of the Pro Coach Cricket Academy. They are running coaching courses around the county during next week’s May half term break. Visit www.procricketcoachingacademy.com for details.