ANDREW Gale has his eyes on a prize as Yorkshire prepare for the beginning of a shortened county summer, which has now been given official approval to start on August 1.

The England and Wales Cricket Board have given the green light for the return of county cricket, although it has not yet been decided which formats will be played.

The first-class counties will meet in the coming days to decide that, and Yorkshire coach Gale admits he is not bothered what competitions are scheduled. Instead, he is just focused on winning whatever is on offer.

Yorkshire are starting a phased return to training at Emerald Headingley this week, and the former Championship-winning captain said: “To be honest, I’m not bothered what we play.

“I’ll just be happy to see us playing cricket after what has gone on over the last few months.

“We’ll be told what we’re playing, and we’ll just get ready for it.

“If there’s a couple of trophies up for grabs, we’ll be preparing as best we can to win them.

“It would be nice to finish off what has been a tough year for everyone and be remembered as the side who won a trophy or two during this pandemic.”

Yorkshire’s return to training this week involves six days of one-to-one sessions with players, though South African fast bowler Duanne Olivier won’t be involved just yet.

The former international quick has spent lockdown in his homeland, though he will return to Leeds shortly.

But Yorkshire are planning for him to have to undergo a 14-day quarantine period, as per government guidelines for travellers coming into the UK.

Olivier has been staying in shape physically and technically in South Africa, and his quarantine period would finish just before the two-day Roses friendly against Lancashire at Emerald Headingley on July 24 and 25.

That game will now immediately be followed by another behind closed doors friendly, against Durham at Headingley on July 27 and 28. Like the Lancashire game, it will be streamed to Yorkshire members.

Discussing Olivier's return, Gale confirmed: “Duanne’s in South Africa, but he should get back here on or around July 6.

“If the rules haven’t changed by that point, he will then have to go through a two-week quarantine. That’s what we’re planning for.

“He is bowling some overs in South Africa at the moment, I think.

“It will be a quick turnaround for him, and fingers crossed his body can handle it.”

As for the wider return to action, the ECB say a commitment to play domestic women’s cricket this summer has also been made, but it “may differ from the planned rollout of the new women’s elite domestic structure”.

It is hoped the new regional, eight-team 50-over competition can be played in September, with Yorkshire and the North East one of those regions.

An ECB statement also said: “Plans for the new men’s season include options for red-ball and white-ball cricket.”

ECB chief executive Tom Harrison said: “It is a significant step for our game that we are able to approve the start of the men’s domestic season for August 1, and one which will be welcomed by everyone connected with county cricket.

“It must be stressed that the safety of our players, staff and officials has been the first priority through all discussions, and government guidance will continue to shape our planning and preparation.

“We will continue to work closely with both the men’s and women’s domestic game to ensure necessary safety measures are in place to protect the wellbeing of everyone involved.”