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White Rose of Yorkshire - Story

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  • White Rose of Yorkshire - Story

    (First things first - this is something I'm writing for a different forum but thought I would post it here to0. It's a bit more basic as a result in the sense that I'm explaining things (and people) that you guys would already know.)

    (This also had a lot more writing and a lot more images, but apparently that's not allowed (10,000 word limit, 4 image limit) which is going to restrict me a lot.)


    There are fewer sports in the world that divide opinion quite as much as this one. In some of the biggest countries in the world it is the lifeblood of sport throughout the nation, whilst in the majority of the world it's barely even acknowledged let alone played. In the countries where it is played there are people who are obsessed beyond belief, they go to every game, they keep their own statistics, and they support their chosen teams with passion and unwavering pride even in the darkest of days.

    This diary is going to concentrate on me running one of the most famous counties in England; Yorkshire. Back in 2012 they were experiencing the toughest times of their existance, relegated to Division 2 of the County Championship, knocked out early in all of the cup competitions and undergoing a transition between two generations of players. Those two generations will be explored more below as we go through the squad ready to start the 2012 season.


    Phil Jaques - Opener

    Left-Handed Batsman - 32 Years Old

    With 11 Test Matches (with an average of 47.47) and 6 ODIs for Australia Phil Jaques is the star batsman of the Yorkshire line-up. More importantly he holds a British passport so doesn't qualify as an overseas player. Jaques was always held back from a full international career due to the depth of batting talent in the Australian game, so in 2010 he chose to quit Australian cricket and moved to England permanently. As such he now qualifies to play for England due to meeting the residential criteria, but the chances of him being selected are remote.


    Andrew Gale - Opener

    Left-Handed Batsman - 28 Years Old

    A true Yorkshireman through and through Andrew Gale is the Yorkshire captain and one of a highly respected member of the Professional Cricketers Association. Gale has always been a player on the fringes of the England setup but has never earned himself an international match. A solid and difficult to get out player makes him an important factor in the country game, he can bat for long periods in four day games and provide an explosive element in shorter versions of the game.


    Joe Root

    Right-Handed Batsman - Right Arm Off Spin - 21 Years Old

    One of Yorkshire's brightest hopes Joe Root is already getting the attention of the England selectors after a very promising start during his first full county season in 2011. Root is certainly a player for the future if he continues to develop at the rate he has been, at which point it's likely that Root will be an England regular. On the other hand, if Root struggles this year it could be a sign of a player not living up to his potential.


    Gary Ballance

    Left-Handed Batsman - 22 Years Old

    Throughout the county game are players known as "Kolpak" players, these are people who take advantage of the Kolpak ruling that allows overseas players with an afilliation to the EU to be employed due to not employing them being a restriction of their employment rights. Or something like that.

    Gary Ballance is one of these players being born and raised in Zimbabwe, however he is well on his way to becoming a fully-fledged British citizen due to being in the country for nearly five years. Ballance's main impact will be in the limited overs matches due to his immense power and superb hand-eye co-ordination. He does have some persistance in the longer matches but any runs he scores are likely to be at a quick rate still.


    Jonny Bairstow - Wicketkeeper

    Right-Handed Batsman - 22 Years Old

    Another really promising young batsman, Jonny Bairstow is one of several young English wicketkeepers aiming for a spot in the three national sides. Bairstow has already had some international experience after impressing in limited overs matches, however he has never been the wicketkeeper for an England side yet. His high impact batting can change an innings and is likely to be the focal point of a Yorkshire innings when he's available to play. Bairstow is the son of former Yorkshire wicketkeeper David Bairstow who comitted suicide when Jonny was just 9 years old.


    Tim Bresnan

    Right Handed Batsman - Right Arm Fast Medium - 27 Years Old

    Being Yorkshire's most frequent England player means that Tim Bresnan is likely to be unavailable for large parts of the season. However when he is around he is going to be the most consistent member of the team with the ball and a very useful lower order batsman too. With the weight of expectation on his shoulders it's a good job that Bresnan bleeds Yorkshire blood and will be fully committed to his county when he's allowed to play for them.


    Ryan Sidebottom

    Left Arm Fast Medium - 34 Years Old

    Ryan Sidebottom is as well known for his long curly hair as he is for his bowling prowess, but for years he has been one of the most under-rated bowlers in the country. Sidebottom has played 22 Test Matches, 25 One Day Internationals and 18 Twenty20 Internationals for England, including being a focal point of England's winning efforts in the 2010 Twenty20 World Cup. Sidebottom retired from international cricket after that tournament giving Yorkshire his full attention, as a result he will be the main strike bowler for the team until he hangs up his boots.


    Mitchell Starc - Overseas Player

    Left Arm Fast Medium - 22 Year Old

    Yorkshire's main overseas player is the young Australian fast bowler who has already played in both Test Matches and ODIs for Australia at such a young age. Some would say this is a result of the lack of bowling options in the Australian side, but Starc is definitely a player with potential and his full season availability will make him an important part of Yorkshire's plans for the season. Of course him being here will give him plenty of practice in England' for the 2013 Ashes series....


    Adil Rashid

    Right Handed Batsman - Right Arm Leg Spin - 24 Years Old

    Despite being a naturally gifted player and once considered the future main spinner of the England side it has been a tough few years for Adil Rashid. Failings in the international game caused a significant drop in both form and confidence and left Rashid on the outside whilst more consistent bowlers took his place in the England setup. Rashid is still a dangerous bowler when he is on top of his form and he has been at the forefront of integrating Yorkshire's diverse range of cultures into the county following far too much time spent being narrow-minded and closed to ethnic minorities...


    Moin Ashraf

    Right Arm Fast Medium - 20 Years Old

    The county has high hopes for this young fast bowler who is already considered a possible England player of the future, Moin Ashraf has developed a yorker-on-cue strategy for one-day cricket that has made him a very dangerous player in the shorter form of the game. Ashraf will be picked regularly to hopefully help develop him into a player for all forms of cricket, however as the weakest member of the bowling attack it's likely that oppositions will aim to target him.
    Those are just ten of the key players that will feature for Yorkshire, more players will be profiled as we move on and they get selected for the team.

    At the start of the season I was given a selection of players who have been released from their counties in the previous season. These included former international players like Mal Loye, James Dalrymple and Chris Schofield looking for one last throw of the dice before they retire, players who have failed to live up to their potential like James Benning, and people I actually know like Steve Snell and Jackson Thompson. In the end I passed on all the former county players, Dalrymple went to Essex, Schofield went to Middlesex, but all the others mentioned above didn't get any contracts and so have disappeared.

    Instead I targeted the strongest youth players available, two batsmen by the name of Henry Carolyne and Tony Rattee and a fast bowler called Stephen Tong. These are all terrible names so I'm going to ask for people to re-name them (normal names though, not stupid ones). I also got hold of a reserve overseas player in case Mitchell Starc gets injured or selected for Australia, Pakistan batsman Umar Akmal joining the group, as well as Dwayne Bravo being brought in as an option for the Twenty20 competition.

    After all that it's time to prepare for our first match of the season, a 4 Day County Championship game against Kent. Let the games begin...