May 29, 2024
Yorkshire chief Darren Gough admits it’s frustrating to be in the dark over points deduction threats

Yorkshire chief Darren Gough admits it’s frustrating to be in the dark over points deduction threats

Darren Gough says Yorkshire remain in the dark with regards to both disciplinary sanctions and Jonny Bairstow’s playing role as they head into another LV= County Championship season.

There is frustration at Headingley on both fronts: with a Cricket Discipline Commission set to deliver its verdict on seven ex-employees accused of historic racism today, they head into a second successive campaign with the threat of a points penalty hanging over them while an official request from England for the centrally-contracted Bairstow to keep wicket on his return from injury has not yet been forthcoming.

Yorkshire admitted to four charges last month, including a failure to address systemic use of racist or discriminatory language and a failure to take adequate action when Azeem Rafiq’s whistle-blowing allegations were first aired, but the decision on the liability of others means sanctions, if any, will be meted out after the crisis club begins its Division Two campaign versus Leicestershire next Thursday.

‘It’s hard to speculate what they are going to say. I think the frustration is clear to see, as we are going into another season,’ Gough, the club’s director of cricket, said.

Darren Gough says it's frustrating to be left in the dark over disciplinary sanctions, as Yorkshire face a second successive season with the threat of points deductions hanging over them

Darren Gough says it's frustrating to be left in the dark over disciplinary sanctions, as Yorkshire face a second successive season with the threat of points deductions hanging over them

Darren Gough says it’s frustrating to be left in the dark over disciplinary sanctions, as Yorkshire face a second successive season with the threat of points deductions hanging over them

England handed Yorkshire an official request for Jonny Bairstow to keep wicket on his return

England handed Yorkshire an official request for Jonny Bairstow to keep wicket on his return

England handed Yorkshire an official request for Jonny Bairstow to keep wicket on his return

‘We hope we can carry on, play cricket, win the title, that’s the dream. But we don’t know. We’d just be guessing, wouldn’t we? When it happens, we can deal with it. Until then, it’s just “play”.’

Yorkshire begin a first Championship outside of the top flight for 11 years, following last year’s final-day relegation, with Gough and coach Ottis Gibson bemoaning the lack of direction from Lord’s on Bairstow’s status.

He last played Test cricket as a frontline batter seven months ago, but appears to be up against Ben Foakes for an Ashes place this summer, after Harry Brook’s meteoric winter rise accounted for the no 5 spot.

‘Communication is the key and we haven’t heard anything from England yet. I think Jonny has said he’d like to keep. He obviously sees a place in the England side – he’s seen everyone do well and he wants to keep,’ Gough said.

‘I think Jonny realises there is competition for places. He had his best year ever for England but you know what it’s like, someone comes into the side and it’s hard to get back.

Yorkshire admitted to four charges last month in relation to Azeem Rafiq's racism allegations

Yorkshire admitted to four charges last month in relation to Azeem Rafiq's racism allegations

Yorkshire admitted to four charges last month in relation to Azeem Rafiq’s racism allegations

Excelling with the gloves at club level could help Bairstow win back his place in the England squad ahead of the Ashes later this year, with plenty of middle-order batters eyeing up a spot

Excelling with the gloves at club level could help Bairstow win back his place in the England squad ahead of the Ashes later this year, with plenty of middle-order batters eyeing up a spot

Excelling with the gloves at club level could help Bairstow win back his place in the England squad ahead of the Ashes later this year, with plenty of middle-order batters eyeing up a spot

‘He probably wants to give himself as many opportunities as he can. He’s a top player, and he’s in a good place mentally with his game. He’s worked out where he wants to be and where he wants to go.’

Sportsmail revealed earlier this week that Bairstow has been pencilled in for two first-class matches behind the stumps – against Glamorgan and Durham, on May 4 and 11 – as preparation for England’s first Test of the summer, against Ireland from June 1.

However, his comeback from last September’s freak golf course injury – incorporating a thrice-broken fibula and dislocated ankle, and surgery to repair the damage – could not meet last week’s deadline for participation in the upcoming Indian Premier League.

And the 33-year-old – whose misfortune opened the international door to county colleague Brook – is yet to adopt twisting and turning into his rehabilitation programme, casting some doubt on whether he will be fit in time to play for Yorkshire ahead of the international summer. 

Yorkshire batsman Harry Brook has batted superbly for England and will likely keep his place

Yorkshire batsman Harry Brook has batted superbly for England and will likely keep his place

Yorkshire batsman Harry Brook has batted superbly for England and will likely keep his place

It looks as though Bairstow will go head-to-head with Ben Foakes for a spot in the Ashes squad

It looks as though Bairstow will go head-to-head with Ben Foakes for a spot in the Ashes squad

It looks as though Bairstow will go head-to-head with Ben Foakes for a spot in the Ashes squad

They do not have first-class fixtures between May 15-31, meaning his only chance of action should he fail to be ready at the start of that month would be out on loan.

‘He’s had a horrific injury but he’s tracking well. He’s running up and down, he can run in straight lines but he’s not doing much lateral stuff yet,’ Gibson said.

‘I’ve had a conversation with him and the medical team, who’ve done a great job, they think by the end of May he should be in position to play cricket.’

Meanwhile, Yorkshire are awaiting a visa for Pakistan batter Saud Shakeel, whose signing for the early part of the season was revealed by Sportsmail earlier this week.

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