YORKSHIRE are ending the season on a far less optimistic note than they began it on and they must make sure that certain recent mistakes in policy are not repeated again next summer.
Even had the decision to sign former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Hak and Pakistan A leg-spinner Imran Tahir for the final few matches proved successful in terms of results, it would still have been the wrong course of action to take.
In the event, however, the signings cannot be justified for any reason whatsoever because Inzamam was completely out of touch when it mattered most and Tahir was clattered for 141 runs without taking a wicket in the 37 overs which he bowled against Sussex at Hove, making it doubtful that he will ever appear on a Yorkshire teamsheet again.
The rationale behind the signings was that the pair would make ideal replacements for top Pakistan batsman Younus Khan and Australia paceman Jason Gillespie, both of whom had been forced to leave Yorkshire early because of their involvement in the World Twenty20 in South Africa.
Inzamam, of course, is a player of world renown, but Imran Tahir’s name had plenty of Yorkshire fans scratching their heads when it was announced that he was joining the club.
He had been signed because it was felt the team needed extra spin options at Hove in order to counter the threat it was quite rightly felt would come from Mushtaq Ahmed and Saqlain Mushtaq, and they were unable to call upon Mark Lawson because of the player’s domestic circumstances.
But Tahir was never going to be in the same league as Sussex’s two exponents of the art of spin and Yorkshire would have been better advised to have selected one from within their own ranks in 22-year-old Pontefract-born David Wainwright.
The left-arm slow bowler has been one of Yorkshire’s best operators in one-day cricket this season and this competitive young man has a cool brain and would not have wilted under the pressures of a top-of-the-table Championship tussle which would have dire consequences for the losers.
Wainwright gained plenty of experience playing first-class cricket at Loughborough University before joining Yorkshire full-time this season and it would have given his confidence a big boost had he been asked to share the spin duties with Adil Rashid.
Likewise, it would have sent out a more encouraging signal if Yorkshire had let Richard Pyrah replace Younus or if they had taken a punt and given a Championship debut to the promising young Whitby left-hander Adam Lyth.
After four months out of the game following Pakistan’s exit from the World Cup in the West Indies in March, it was never going to be likely that Inzamam would suddenly pitch up and find his touch right from the start.
But his first five scores were worse than anyone could have feared – eight v Warwickshire in the Championship at Scarborough, nine and seven v Surrey and Durham respectively in the NatWest Pro 40 and eight and 22 v Sussex at Hove.
For much of the time, Inzamam was not so much at sixes and sevens at the crease as at eights and nines!
Admittedly, he lashed a brutal half-century off 26 balls against Kent in the NatWest Pro40 clash at Canterbury last Sunday but his slow running between the wickets also cost a few runs and, in any case, Yorkshire still threw away their chances of promotion by losing by 13 runs.
The problem with short-term signings is that no player in the world can be guaranteed to make runs or take wickets to order and if they start off by going through a bad patch there is no time left in which to recover.
Should a similar situation arise in future, Yorkshire would be better advised to show some faith in their own young players who have come up through the Academy and are aching for recognition.
Last season, the then director of cricket David Byas had sufficient faith in 18-year-old Rashid to give him his Championship debut against Warwickshire at Scarborough and he responded with a six-wicket haul.
Now, a year on, Rashid is Yorkshire’s leading wicket-taker with 40 victims and has just been named Young Cricketer of the Year by the Cricket Writers’ Club.