Every match crucial for title-chasing Yorkshire

EYES ON THE PRIZES: Yorkshire skipper Andrew Gale has success in his sights for the White Rose ranks. Picture: Alex Whitehead/swix.com

EYES ON THE PRIZES: Yorkshire skipper Andrew Gale has success in his sights for the White Rose ranks. Picture: Alex Whitehead/swix.com

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ANDREW GALE says every remaining match in the LV= County Championship or the NatWest T20 Blast is pivotal for Yorkshire, starting tomorrow against Birmingham Bears at Headingley.

The county begin a crucial five days of cricket against the Bears knowing that a win will secure their place in the T20 quarter-finals.

They then travel to Scarborough to tackle Middlesex in the LV= County Championship on Saturday looking to respond to leaders Nottinghamshire’s win over Lancashire at Liverpool this week, a success which opened up a 16-point gap between the two sides.

“Over the last two or three weeks you’ve heard it said more and more ‘it’s a big week, it’s a big week’.

"It’s got to that stage of the season where every week is exactly that. Every game’s pivotal,” said the Yorkshire captain.

“If we win Friday, the following week’s a big one to beat Notts and seal a home quarter and so on and so on.

“I just keep hammering home with the lads that it’s about the processes. We’re not getting wrapped up with looking ahead. It’s about doing the things that have made us successful in the formats we’ve played so far.

“We know we’ve got enough form, ability and confidence in the team to be successful. But, if we get carried away and don’t respect it, we know that professional sport can bite you.

“Especially in Championship cricket, if you’re just off it for a moment, it’s hard to fight your way back.”

It has been a funny old week for Gale, both on and off the field.

It started with Yorkshire narrowly missing out on a Championship win over Durham last Thursday before being left out of the team for Friday’s T20 win over the same team following some sketchy form.

He then returned to the side and scored a crucial 34 from the middle order in the win over Derbyshire on Sunday, a role he is not used to having opened the batting against the white ball for the majority of his career.

And all this was happening while his wife, Kate, was due to give birth to their second child.

“I got left out Friday night, and it was pretty difficult to take at the time, especially with everything that was going on at home as well,” he said. “In the morning, my missus was having contractions and I didn’t know whether I was going to travel.

“I made a decision to travel and by 4pm, had the contractions got worse, I would have gone home. The team was a bit up in the air, which wasn’t helping things, and I was disappointed not to play.

“But to bounce back under a little bit of pressure against Derby was extremely satisfying.

“I think it’s seven years since I’ve batted in the middle order for Yorkshire in one-day and Twenty20 cricket. I had to remember how I played in those positions, and I was quite nervous before I went in.”

The first day of the Middlesex game at Scarborough on Saturday starts at noon, not 11am, because of Yorkshire’s T20 commitment tomorrow.

Andrew Gale is a director at the Pro Coach Cricket Academy, who are running a series of three-day summer camps next month. For more information, visit www.procricketcoachingacademy.com

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