The days are gone when Yorkshire would insist that all their players came from within the county’s borders, but even now that the White Rose have accepted signings from overseas, their reputation as the linchpin of the England side remains.
England’s first Test against Sri Lanka at Lord’s was dominated by two Yorkshiremen, namely Joe Root and Gary Ballance who hit 200 not out and 104 not out. It was Ballance's maiden Test century, which he sealed with a six to put to bed any doubts about his worthiness of a place at number three.
As for Root, the fresh-faced batsman managed to go one better, trumping his personal best of 180 in last summer’s Ashes series at the home of cricket, and his extraordinary double century once again proved he is better suited to the middle order, regardless of where he plays for the Yorkshire Vikings.
The demands of modern cricket have made it almost impossible to compete without scouting abroad, though it was not until 1992 that the county realised they had been putting themselves at a severe disadvantage, despite expanding their franchise to those born in England.
In the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, however, it was enough to rely on the mastery of Geoffrey Boycott, who became Yorkshire’s highest scorer across all formats.
Today, Boycott may be remembered for his cautious, and admittedly somewhat dull, approach, but by 1971, he was made county captain because of his smooth, consistent batting, a position he retained for eight seasons.
After a self-imposed exile from international cricket which lasted three years, Boycott made his return for England against Australia and made 107; unfortunately, though, his time with the Three Lions was marred by accusations from his team mates that he played selfishly.
Boycott’s career only briefly coincided with another of Yorkshire’s England greats, Fred Trueman, who became the first bowler in history to take 300 Test wickets. His ability in the field was also second to none, but like Boycott, he was engaged with numerous struggles with England’s cricket elites.
In the modern era, Darren Gough also excelled for both Yorkshire and England, taking 229 wickets in just 58 Tests, on top of 234 dismissals in ODIs, a feat that has placed him as the nation’s ninth highest wicket-taker of all time.
Gough’s England team mate Michael Vaughan was able to take advantage of Yorkshire’s looser birth qualification rules to qualify for the county, but like Stanley Jackson and Len Hutton before him, was never made captain at Headingley; however, all three went on to skipper England to Ashes success.
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