JASON Gillespie says a win in next weekend’s champion county fixture against the MCC is not his top priority as Yorkshire get set for their pre-season tour of the United Arab Emirates.
Gillespie knows the benefits of beating a strong MCC side for the second year running in their opening first-class match of 2016.
But he also knows that managing his players’ workload could bring far greater reward in the long-term.
Yorkshire face a busy match schedule during their fortnight in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, where they fly to today.
They face Lancashire in a two-day match, starting on Monday, before a Twenty20 clash with Leicestershire on Thursday.
The Vikings will then defend their Emirates Airline T20 title on Friday in a four-team competition involving the MCC, the UAE national side and T20 Blast champions Lancashire Lightning.
They then take on Ian Bell’s MCC side at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, starting a week on Sunday.
“We have to see what our team will look like with that,” said Yorkshire coach Gillespie.
“Any win is a good win and gives you confidence. So we will certainly be going out there and trying to give ourselves the best possible chance of winning that game.
“But it’s pre-season, and I’m very concious that, including that game, we’ve got 19 first-class games (this season).
“I’m really concious of that, and we’ve got to make sure we manage our players the best we can because we’ve still got a two-day game among ourselves, a two-day game against Derby and the three-dayer against Leeds/Bradford before our first Championship game. There’s a lot of cricket once we get back.
“Some players probably won’t play a huge role in terms of game time out in Abu Dhabi. We’ll be looking after them and making sure they’re ready to go once we get back to England.”
Aside from their international players involved in the World T20, a rested Jonny Bairstow and an unavailable Travis Head, Yorkshire are taking a strong 18-man squad on tour.
Gillespie will sit down with Lancashire coach Ashley Giles before Monday’s clash to decide the make-up of the fixture.
“It should be good fun,” he added.
“I’m not exactly sure how the game will go, whether we play 12 or 13 or whatever. Maybe bat one day and bowl the next.
“I will have to speak with Gilo (Ashley Giles) about that. At the end of the day, we want to get the best preparation we can, as Lancashire do.”