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 Saturday, 25 January, 2003, 09:00 GMT
New era at Headingley
BBC Sport's Kevin Howells

The broom sweeping through the corridors of Yorkshire County Cricket Club may be new, but it is being wielded by some old familiar faces.

After handing over total control of cricketing matters to Australian coach Wayne Clark two years ago, the Tykes have taken charge of their own destiny again.

Geoff Cope, Kevin Sharp and Arnie Sidebottom are the men who have been charged with supporting new captain Anthony McGrath, all former players from a period when the club enjoyed little success.

McGrath insists he and only he will choose the team and despite his easy-going nature, he is ready to take the difficult decisions.

Darren Lehmann and Anthony McGrath
McGrath (right) chats to predecessor Lehmann

A concern must be that Yorkshire means everything to these individuals and that can often bring too much pressure upon the side.

It was something Clark always feared and one of his main objectives was to allow the players to enjoy themselves in the belief that they would respond and win things.

So it proved in the 2001 County Championship in 2001 and last summer's C&G Trophy.

The club has introduced a new code of conduct for players, which suggests officials felt there was too much emphasis on fun last year.

Being better dressed and shaved in the mornings is hardly going to guarantee victories but McGrath, who must help implement this new disciplinary regime, wants eveything right off the field to negate one potential line of criticism if things go wrong on it.

Bringing the running of the club back in house will satisfy those members who viewed former skipper Darren Lehmann as too much one of the lads.

But his replacement is well known as a prankster and admits he will have to change "a little" in his new role.

Geoff Cope
Director of Cricket Cope played in the 1970s

At 27 years of age, he is the youngest person to lead the county since Brian Sellers, whose tenure during the 1930s brought six Championship titles to Headingley.

Unlike McGrath, Sellers never had to fend off accusations of being the phantom snipper who has terrorised the Yorkshire dressing room over the past five years by cutting up socks and ties.

McGrath strongly denies these stories, but is keen to maintain a good atmosphere.

Fear of failure can be crippling and the new captain must get the balance right. Players will support a popular leader and McGrath will be just that.

If things don't go well they must remain united. Too often in the past, if the chips were down fingers would start to point until someone took the blame.

Three different captains and a coach in two seasons is testament to that.

Kevin Howells goes behind the scenes with the county champions

The 2002 season

See also:

20 Jan 03 | Yorkshire
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