Yorkshire turn to Gale
Batsman replaces McGrath as Tykes captain
Last Updated: December 22, 2009 5:02pm
Yorkshire have appointed Andrew Gale as their new captain for the 2010 county campaign.
The left-handed batsman was confirmed as Yorkshire's sixth captain in 10 years at a press conference at Headingley Carnegie just a day after Anthony McGrath confirmed he was to step down from the post.
Gale is tasked with leading England's most successful county out of a period of underachievement which has seen them narrowly avoid relegation from the LV= County Championship in three of the last four seasons.
The Dewsbury-born 26-year-old was named Yorkshire player of the year in 2009, scoring 828 runs in the championship and 689 in the three limited-overs competitions.
He was also selected for higher honours, making his debut for England Lions against Australia in August and winning selection to the 'B category' of this winter's England Performance Programme.
Gale skippered the EPP side to victory over Nashua Titans in the final match of their tour to South Africa, which ended last week.
"I'm not going to make empty promises about winning this trophy or that trophy," said Gale, who also signed a new three-year contract.
"What I will say is that with hard work and determination we can compete with the likes of Durham and Nottinghamshire consistently.
"It's a sign of the club's strength that we've had 11 lads involved with England in some capacity this winter - from full level down to the Under-19s.
"The challenge is to channel that ability into consistent results on the pitch."
Yorkshire released talismanic bowler Matthew Hoggard at the end of the season but Gale believes the younger brigade can fill the void.
"It's disappointing that Hoggy left, they are hard boots to fill," he added. "But younger seamers are going to be given an opportunity to come through.
"We gave Jonathan Bairstow and Adam Lyth a chance last season, and they responded with lots of runs.
"So I feel we have a good balance at the club now. We've got some quality young players, and crucially some good solid blokes on the senior side of things.
"It was great to see Anthony McGrath come out today and support me fully. Jacques Rudolph is a strong vice-captain, and I get along very well with Joe Sayers and Gerard Brophy."
McGrath, 34, was appointed Yorkshire captain for a second time in late 2008 following the retirement of Darren Gough.
The former England batsman made a bright start to last season, scoring a career-best 211 against Warwickshire, but failed to register a half-century in his last 19 championship innings.
"You know the responsibilities of being Yorkshire captain when you take on the role," said McGrath.
"Mentally it started to affect my game. The main decision came about run-scoring and my own performances. I just don't think we could take that chance again in 2010 if I had another bad season.
"I'm leaving the captaincy in great hands with Andrew Gale, who has grown as a man over the last couple of years.
"He's a strong character, and most importantly he makes runs when it matters. He's been identified as someone who can handle pressure. Only time will tell."
McGrath will remain at the club solely on a playing basis.