ANDREW Gale says coronavirus has forced the Yorkshire hierarchy into a new way of thinking in terms of their winter training plans.

Coach Gale and his backroom team will, come August 1, have got their squad ready for action in just under five weeks of contact time.

Beforehand, players had been working on their fitness from home since mid-March.

Training since the end of June has been staggered for the White Rose squad, starting with one-to-one sessions with a player and a coach. It then moved on to group sessions week by week.

“The preparation has been outstanding,” said Gale, ahead of Friday’s two-day friendly clash with Lancashire at Emerald Headingley.

“I’ve been back for six or seven weeks, with the England lads coming in first (to prepare for any international call-ups) and then the Yorkshire lads following them.

“We’ve obviously had a phased return to training, starting with one-to-ones.

“But it’s been very good and has made us think about how we do things going forward in terms of the winters.

“The one-to-one stuff has gone down really well with the lads.

“They came back in really good physical condition after lockdown.

“They obviously haven’t had access to gyms, but through running and cycling they’ve done all they can.”

Gale went on: “To a certain extent, I’ve always questioned why cricket clubs have such long pre-seasons compared to other sports. We can have a five-month pre-season, and other sports have six or seven weeks.

“This has confirmed to me that we probably overdo it in the winter.

“We need to sit down at the end of the season. Hopefully we won’t have too many injuries over the next two months and it will confirm what we’re thinking.

“It will then be in October when we redesign our winter programme.

“Some lads will need to be back earlier, because they’ll have a lot more technical stuff to work on than some of the senior lads will.

“I would expect that a very individualised programme, like we have done over this last five or six weeks, is the way we’ll go moving forward.”

Potentially, a shortened, more individualised winter training schedule could allow more players to travel overseas to play either club cricket or in any of the domestic T20 leagues.

That is something Gale hopes can come to fruition.

The former Championship-winning captain added: “Fingers crossed, it would be ideal if players can get to countries like Australia and New Zealand to play some cricket in the winter - especially younger ones.

“They will have missed a heck of a lot of cricket, and we need them to be continuing their development.”