Skipper Gale set for tough Roses clash

Durham v Yorkshire County Championship day 2 mon 5th may 2014 Andrew Gale  hits out during his innings of 124 runs
Durham v Yorkshire County Championship day 2 mon 5th may 2014 Andrew Gale hits out during his innings of 124 runs

Yorkshire skipper Andrew Gale is hoping his side can continue their cracking start to the season with a home win in their Roses clash with Lancashire, starting at Headingley on Sunday morning.

Gale said: “In the Championship we have done well. I would probably give us an eight out of 10 so far. At times we’ve played some really good cricket. The way we have responded after the defeat against Middlesex was impressive. To get an emphatic win against Warwickshire at Headingley last time out was very satisfying.

“We have been very good at Headingley and our aim was to make Headingley a fortress in 2014. Over the years this hasn’t been the case for differing reasons. I think now we have found a formula for winning games at Headingley. It’s not just down to performances. We pride ourselves on the attention to detail, from discussing the type of pitches we want with the groundsman to preparation we work on as a squad.”

Gale added:“This is what it’s all about. Players on both sides look forward to this game. It has been a few years since we played the Roses match in the Championship. It is always the first fixture you look for in all the formats and to play them in the four-day game, the most prestigious of the entire cricket we play, is huge for the players’ and members.

“It has been quite a spicy affair over the past few years and that will no doubt continue in this game coming up. You want Roses matches to be played hard and fair. The public demands it too. When you represent your county you go into every game wanting to win, but when it’s Lancashire it goes up another notch of intensity. You want to do well and win. It’s something that is ingrained in the psyche of growing up with the rivalry coming through all grades - from junior cricket to the County Championship. In my opinion, it is a rivalry unsurpassed in the game.”

When asked about Lancashire’s form this season, Gale said: “They will be disappointed with their start, but it is not a reflection on how good they are as a team. They have some quality players and a side with experience. If we take them lightly we will come a cropper.

“In this division, if you’re not on it you’ll suffer the consequences. We have to make sure that we are ready for a battle and a real challenge of intense cricket.”

Yorkshire have named a 12-man squad for the visit of Lancashire. This will be Kane Williamson’s last game before he joins up with New Zealand ahead of their tour of the West Indies, which includes three Tests and two T20 internationals. He is due back with Yorkshire from the second week of July.

Yorkshire squad: Jonathan Bairstow, Jack Brooks, Andrew Gale (captain), Andrew Hodd, Alex Lees, Adam Lyth, Steve Patterson, Liam Plunkett, Richard Pyrah, Adil Rashid, Ryan Sidebottom, Kane Williamson.