Usual link for the photos
I have deliberately kept away from the debate (post mortem) that must have followed the Chelmsford Massacre. We supporters care about Yorkshire cricket, sometimes too passionately, if that is possible, and this was hard to take. If you thought it was bad following from afar, you should have been there!
For me, it was the worst defeat since 2007, when we were sunk without trace at Hove. Sussex made 597 for 8, including a century by someone called Hodd, to which we replied with 247 and, following on, 89 all out. We lost by an innings and 261 runs. Nine of that Yorkshire team had played, or would play, Test cricket.
Bad as it was, the Chelmsford defeat wasn’t as bad as that. We had a decent first day, when we bowled Essex out, and two quick wickets at the start of the Essex second innings briefly put us in contention again. In this game it was the batting that was dire, and there was little evidence of fight, which has to be worrying. I have consistently maintained that our batting is okay – not brilliant, without Root and Bairstow, but adequate – under most circumstances. I still think that there are greater concerns, especially in the absence of Rashid, but to have virtually no runs at all from the top three in the order cannot continue, not if we are to keep our First Division status.
Lyth and Lees have both made runs before, big runs. Why not in 2017? Has this been just one of those statistical oddities, two batsmen out of form at the same time? We like to have someone to blame, but who? Some say the coach, who might have helped correct technical flaws which creep into every batsman’s game, or coach and captain for failing to provide the positive dressing room atmosphere in which players flourish.
If that’s the case with Yorkshire, poor team spirit, it wasn’t evident the previous week when the team battled to beat Warwickshire, nor in their affectionate send-off for Ryan Sidebottom.
Then there’s the overseas batsman problem. Ten years ago, at Hove, we had Inzamam-ul-Haq, who did just about as well as Kraigg Brathwaite has in 2017. And Inzamam was one of the world’s great players, well used to English conditions.
It will be interesting to see what management decisions are made, prior to the 2018 season. Essex have shown what can be done with just two imports to augment a team of home-grown players. We ourselves won two titles with much the same.
So I’m in the Corporal Jones camp: “Don’t panic!”
But we all know that Jones was an idiot! So perhaps we’re doomed, I tell you, all doomed.