Captain Andrew Gale puts blame on batting problems as champions dethroned
AN emotional Andrew Gale criticised Yorkshire's batting and the ECB's decision to block Jonny Bairstow representing the county following yesterday's dramatic final day at Lord's.
Gale watched his side lose its two-year-long grip on the Championship trophy slip away after engineering an enthralling climax alongside Middlesex’s victorious captain James Franklin.
The Yorkshire skipper promised his side would fight until the last to try and make the 240 required runs inside the 40 overs.
And, despite a destructive half century from Tim Bresnan, Yorkshire’s batting problems struck again as Toby Roland-Jones claimed a match-winning 6-54 to bowl the White Rose out for 178.
The trouble at the crease was nothing new to Gale and his squad. Yorkshire reached a first innings mark of 400 just five times in 16 first class matches this season and Gale said batting failures were to blame for his side falling short of a third consecutive title.
Gale, who hinted that yesterday’s defeat could be his last as Yorkshire captain, said: “We are obviously gutted. We had a chance to win three in a row but we couldn’t get over the line. It was a fantastic game of cricket. It’s just a shame we couldn’t be on the right side of it.
“Over the course of the season there are a lot of things, points dropped here and points dropped there. We haven’t played to our full potential all year. We have not batted well as a unit.
“We’ve had England call-ups as usual and a few injuries as well. It’s not been ideal. You need a little bit of luck on the way and we didn’t have it at times.
“But to stay in the hunt and play to 60/70 per cent of our potential, it’s been a fantastic effort.”
Those England selections include the Bairstow dilemma that hung over the title showdown.
The wicket-keeper batsman was controversially barred from playing by England chiefs Andrew Strauss and Trevor Bayliss ahead of his winter international commitments – despite his own desire to play.
And with 6,000 people in the stands, the absence of Bairstow – and that of England colleagues Joe Root and Adil Rashid, for differing reasons – still riled Gale.
The 32-year-old, who revealed Rashid was not present in the Yorkshire dressing room during the clash, added: “Jonny Bairstow would be missed from any County Championship game. He’s in the form of his life and it’s disappointing not to have him in his team.
“To play in a box-office game like that is what you want to do in your career. I understand England have got a lot of cricket to play this summer but I’m sure Jonny will have wanted to play in this game.”
Negotiations to find a common ground over the chasing target took half an hour between Gale and Franklin during the afternoon session.
“I said to Franky if we are going to go for it, we will go all the way down. There was no point blocking it out,” Gale added.
“We wanted a longer chase. I thought that would give us more chance.
“We still thought 240 was a big chase. I know some people thought it was generous but it was a fourth day pitch, which was slow.
“We just needed someone to have a magic day out. Someone like David Willey who is a big match player, you just felt like if he had a day out he would get us over the line. Unfortunately we couldn’t get the result.”