Yorkshire County Cricket Club was founded in 1863 and boasts the fullest trophy cabinet in English cricket with 33 outright County Championship wins. After a spell in the Championship shadows, their 2001 success being their only title between 1968 and 2013, back-to-back titles in 2014 and 2015 have seen the White Rose County recapture its full bloom. They head to Abu Dhabi in March seeking to lay the foundations to become the first English side to achieve three consecutive County Championship successes since they themselves achieved the feat between 1966 and 1968.
For all their four-day success their one-day form has been patchy at best. With only one trip to T20 Finals Day in 2012 many hoped their success in last year’s Emirates T20 competition would lead to a more consistent showing in the 2015 season. They were hindered by international call-ups, but it’s hard to believe that one-day success is not far away when one looks at the rich array of talent currently assembled at Headingley.
Alex Lees replaced Andrew Gale as the club’s one-day captain in 2016 and will be keen to lift the Emirates T20 for the second time after leading his team to success last March when Gale was injured.
Yorkshire CCC One-Day Captain
Lees was named as Yorkshire’s one-day captain in late 2015, but gained experience in the role last season when deputising for Andrew Gale, and lifted the Emirates T20 Trophy as he steered his side past Lancashire and Sussex in Dubai. A lot is expected of the left-handed opening batsman and many see him as the long-term option as England Test opener.
In 2013 his 275* against Derbyshire at Chesterfield confirmed his pedigree. He was named the PCA, Yorkshire CCC and Cricket Writers’ Club Young Player of the Year in 2014 after a stunning first full season saw him score 1,018 first-class runs, earn a call up to the England winter Performance Programme and the England Lions squad.
His combination with Adam Lyth at the top of Yorkshire’s order was the most successful on the county circuit and massive in the Club’s title winning campaign. By those high standards his 866 runs at 33.30 in the team’s 2015 success will have disappointed him, but there is plenty to come.
England and Yorkshire CCC Batsman
In early 2015 Gary became the third fastest England batsman to reach 1,000 Test runs, but leaner times against Australia saw him lose his place. He’d made his one-day international debut against Ireland in early September 2013 before his Test debut followed during the winter’s Ashes series.
The punchy left-handed middle-order batsman joined Yorkshire’s Academy from Derbyshire in early 2008. Prolific winter spells with the Mid West Rhinos in his native Zimbabwe saw him grow in confidence. A maiden first-class ton came in 2011, impressive knocks followed in 2012 and earned him an England Lions tour in early 2013. He raced passed 1,000 first-class runs in 2013 and the England selectors could not ignore him.
It’s a surprise to many Yorkshire supporters, who have witnessed his capacity for big hitting, that Gary has not played more ODIs. The boundaries at the Emirates T20 may not be big enough!