Jason Gillespie: Yorkshire not short on quality batters

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: In the front line . . . from left, Liam Plunkett, Adam Lyth, Andrew Gale, Garry Ballance and Jonny Bairstow at today’s Yorkshire pre-season media day In the front line . . . from left, Liam Plunkett, Adam Lyth, Andrew Gale, Garry Ballance and Jonny Bairstow at today’s Yorkshire pre-season media day

Jason Gillespie has faith in Yorkshire’s batting strength, despite the retirement of Anthony McGrath.

The White Rose hierarchy have opted against recruiting a replacement batsman to join the trio of new signings in wicketkeeper Andrew Hodd and fast bowlers Liam Plunkett and Jack Brooks.

Instead, they are confident that the likes of Joe Sayers, Alex Lees and Jack Leaning can fill the void when needed if international call-ups for the likes of Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow affect them this summer.

Yorkshire need not worry during the early stages of the summer because Bairstow is available from the off, starting with Friday's three-day friendly against Leeds-Bradford University.

Joe Root then becomes available for LV= County Championship matches against Durham, Derbyshire and Somerset ahead of the Test series against New Zealand.

It is only when the England internationals kick in that things could start to become an issue.

Coach Gillespie, however, is not too worried.

Speaking at today’s annual pre-season media day at Headingley, he said: “There’s been a lot of people questioning our batting depth but it’s something as a support staff we don’t see at all.

“We see a lot of strength in our batting. If there comes a situation where we lose three or four to international honours, that would affect any side. We’re no different.

“But we’ve got faith in our players who can step in for the Roots and Bairstows.”

Bairstow will be part of a strong team to face the students in a match Gillespie and captain Andrew Gale are treating as a 17th Championship match.

Phil Jaques will miss out because his family arrive in England at the weekend and because he has been playing regular club cricket in Australia.

But Gillespie added: “We certainly won’t be taking the students lightly.

“They played some good cricket against us last year (in a drawn three-day match last April). We’ll be going out there with a positive attitude as if it’s a Championship game. We’ve done all the hard work, now it’s time to play.”

The most interesting aspect of Yorkshire’s team ahead of next Wednesday’s Championship opener against Sussex at Headingley will be who Adam Lyth’s new opening partner will be when Root is not available.

Jaques is an option, as are Sayers and Lees.

Gillespie would not be drawn on who it will be: “You’ll have to wait and see, won’t you,” he chuckled.

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