No sooner had Jacques Rudolph got his feet back under the Yorkshire table after answering their SOS than he finds himself in the role of captain.
Andrew Gale, who claimed responsibility for bringing Rudolph back, will miss the rest of the season after breaking his right forearm when struck by a ball in the nets.
With four LV County Championship games left Yorkshire slipped into the second relegation place when Worcestershire moved four points above them with a game in hand by beating Sussex.
Now Yorkshire desperately need to drag Sussex deeper into the relegation picture by celebrating the 125th Scarborough Festival with a victory over the team who went down two years ago and bounced straight back.
Sussex go into the match 25 points ahead of Yorkshire, for whom defeat would be hugely damaging as they face a tough run-in with two games against Warwickshire before finishing at home to Somerset.
After suffering the first serious injury of his career, Gale said: “We have got the players to get out of it. When we’re switched on I still believe we are one of the best sides in the country.
“However, when we’re off the boil we can be awful and that’s what’s been frustrating this season – our lack of consistency.”
The Dewsbury-born left-hander is Yorkshire’s second-highest run-scorer this season with 769 at an average of 40.47 in the four-day game.
Gale’s greater influence in his second season as captain also saw his Cleckheaton club colleague, Iain Wardlaw, taken on to the staff in mid-season and he has been given some opportunities ahead of the likes of Oliver Hannon-Dalby and Steve Patterson, who were regulars last season.
It was a ball from Hannon-Dalby which inflicted the damage and Gale added: “It hurt badly at the time but not for one minute did I think it was a break. I was happy to keep on batting.
“On Sunday morning I knew something was seriously wrong. Before this I’ve only ever missed one game through injury in my career. Given the situation we are in, this is awful timing. I’m gutted about it, but it does give other players a chance.
“I’ll be around the team but I don’t want to tread on Jacques’s toes. I still think I’ve got a part to play in the motivation of the players. I know everything there is to know about them.”
Martyn Moxon, Yorkshire’s director of professional cricket, said: “It’s obviously a blow, not only for his leadership but also for his ability.
“It gives Joe Sayers another opportunity and, hopefully, he can take advantage of the situation and Jacques has experience of captaincy, having led the side before.”
After recovering from the post viral fatigue syndrome which ended his 2010 campaign, Sayers, has played six Championship matches this season and scored 272 runs at 24.72.