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Tuesday, 18 September, 2001, 07:39 GMT 08:39 UK
Title a tribute to squad strength
It was a champagne season for Yorkshire
It was a champagne season for Yorkshire
Yorkshire's first championship title for 33 years was a remarkable achievement.

It was a tribute to the all-round strength of the club that they managed it with so many players absent through injury and test calls.

Darren Gough played in only two championship games, Matthew Hoggard and Michael Vaughan seven apiece, Chris Silverwood and Ryan Sidebottom eight each and Craig White nine.

However, the players left behind took responsibility. Darren Lehmann was inspirational and they also found a joker in the pack.

Leicestershire's loss was Yorkshire's gain as Steve Kirby emerged as the signing of the season.

  Final analysis
County Championship D1: Champions
NUL D1: 6th
B&H Cup: SF
C&G Trophy: QF
Player of the season: Darren Lehmann

Quick and raw, he interspersed bad balls with wicket-taking deliveries and persistent verbal assaults. A player's reputation did not concern him.

Adam Hollioake was verbally abused immediately on arrival at the crease, Matthew Fleming was shocked by the sledging he received and Mike Atherton was told: "I've seen better players than you in my fridge."

Kirby backed up his words with wickets as county batsmen struggled to cope. He finished with 47 at 20.85 and a place at England's academy. It will be fascinating to see how Rod Marsh deals with him.

Kirby though, for all his fire, was not Yorkshire's most potent weapon. Lehmann was the model overseas professional, emphasising the importance of team spirit and leading by example.

He scored five championship centuries, 1,416 runs and averaged 83.29.

He also scored 753 runs in the Norwich Union League and was mainly responsible for keeping Yorkshire in the first division.

He found support from opener Matthew Wood and the captain David Byas, who scored 853 runs at 44.89.

Byas made his debut in 1986 and might relinquish the captaincy now the championship has finally been won. If he does, Lehmann will be the man to take over.

Darren Lehmann had a vintage season for Yorkshire
Lehmann had a vintage season for Yorkshire
Wood, 24, is not a flamboyant batsman, but he has the technique and temperament to challenge eventually for a Test place.

Like Kirby, he has been selected for England's academy. He made 1,060 runs at 48.18.

That is nothing, however, compared to the rapid rise of Richard Dawson.

His call-up for England's winter tour to India was remarkable. He had only played seven championship matches when he was selected in late August.

A few words of caution. He concedes runs at more than three an over and while he was a useful addition to Yorkshire's attack, he was not instrumental in their championship victory.

He is tall and gives the ball a rip, but do not expect him to be the immediate solution to England's spin-bowling problems.

He is hugely promising but Test batsmen, and Indians in particular, relish orthodox off-spin.

Such are Yorkshire's riches that Paul Hutchison has been allowed to leave for Sussex. There are rumours too about Darren Gough's future with the county.

Judging by his limited appearances in the past two seasons, losing him would not be a major setback.

See also:

24 Aug 01 |  Yorkshire
Yorkshire claim county crown
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