Yorkshire will go into their final County Championship match of the season against Somerset at Headingley knowing their chances of Division One survival are anorexic.
They are, in fact, in grave danger of finishing bottom a year after almost winning the title. But Hampshire’s resurgence might work in Yorkshire’s favour because it means neither Worcestershire nor Sussex can feel safe going into their meeting at New Road.
That should deter them from any notion of collusion. Ten points apiece would guarantee they stay ahead of Yorkshire, but both could yet be overhauled by Hampshire.
Yorkshire will again be led by Joe Sayers as Jacques Rudolph is not returning from South Africa for the match and is unlikely to be back next season as he is expected to regain his place in the national squad. Sayers has been widely praised for his leadership in the draw at Edgbaston following the previous week’s heavy defeat at home to Warwickshire.
And Sayers himself has been quoted as saying: “I think it would be fair to say it was one of our best performances of the season. There were some great individual performances, but also I think there was the best spirit in the camp that we’ve seen for some time.”
Director of cricket Martyn Moxon has denied, however, that there is any likelihood of Sayers taking over from the injured Andrew Gale for next season.
“Joe did very well at Edgbaston,” he said. “He’s a very intelligent lad and very considered in the way that he speaks to the players and goes about his business.
“But what we need from Joe first and foremost is as many runs as possible. It’s good for him to have a taste of the extra responsibility that captaincy brings, but Andrew Gale continues to do a great job as captain.
“He and I are fully committed to building a Yorkshire side of predominantly home-grown players that will be successful for many years to come. We are both in this for the long haul.”
Moxon confirmed the club will announce their retained list when the season is over, when Gerard Brophy, David Wainwright and Ben Sanderson will be out of contract.