ANDREW Gale has challenged Yorkshire’s young players to follow the example set by Harry Brook and earn a first-team place with performances in Potchefstroom.

This time last year, then 19-year-old Brook enjoyed a fabulous run of form during the club’s pre-season tour, highlighted by 154 in a two-day game against Nottinghamshire.

It secured him a place in the team for the County Championship season opener, and he went on to enjoy an encouraging summer overall.

Tomorrow, Yorkshire return to South Africa and the same facility in Potch, with players knowing there are places up for grabs again ahead of next month’s opening Specsavers Division One clash with Notts at Trent Bridge.

The White Rose will spend 12 days at the NWU PUK Sports Village and will play a one-day game against Cardiff University and two-day games against Notts and Alex Lees’ Durham.

“There is always a surprise,” admitted coach Gale. “Last season, Harry came out of nowhere really.

“He was on the England under-19s and we knew a lot about him, but he put his name in the hat with a lot of runs in South Africa. That’s all you can do.

“Every pre-season you go on, there’s always one or two players who come out of nowhere and progress quicker than you thought they would.

“There’s opportunities for younger players to put their names forward for a place.”

Gale and his players have spent the last three days training at the ECB’s National Performance Centre, which is based on campus at Loughborough University.

“It’s a fantastic facility,” he explained.

“It’s a lot bigger than what we’ve got (at Emerald Headingley).

“It’s allowed us to do a lot more fielding and the bowlers can get their full run-ups in. It’s been about building that intensity up again.

“The lads have worked hard, they’re in a good place mentally, they’re confident and are ready for the next stage now, which is to get into competition when they’ll be put under some pressure and can stake a claim for a place.

“We’ll have some good competition in South Africa. All we’re after is for guys to keep up that intensity and pick up a few wickets and to spend some time in the middle.”

New signing Duanne Olivier, the fast bowler who has retired from international cricket to sign a three-year Kolpak contract with the county, will join the squad later in the tour.

“He will be there during the last five or six days when he’ll get some overs under his belt,” confirmed Gale. “Then, five or six days later, he’ll travel to the UK, settle in, train and play in the Leeds/Bradford game (starting March 31).

“He’s a guy who is right on top of his game at the minute. He’s going to be an excellent addition to our bowling attack.

“If you are going to compete across all three formats, you need eight, nine or 10 seamers. We seem to have got that now.

“We wanted someone who was hardened to the workloads, and to bring in someone of Duanne’s stature at this moment in time is excellent recruitment for us.

“He’s a guy who takes wickets and can play different roles.

“For South Africa he’s bowled short, but that doesn’t do him justice. When he played for Derby last year, he bowled a bit fuller, swung it and got his wickets by nicking people off and getting them bowled.

“We’re looking forward to having him on board.”