Sporting Achievement Award 2002

David Byas

In a surprise move, Lancashire have announced the signing of former Yorkshire captain, David Byas. Byas made his debut for Yorkshire in 1986 and last season led the county to the first county championship success since 1968. It came as a shock when, no sooner had the title had been secured than the captain announced that he was retiring from first-class cricket.

At the time he said: “I have had a wonderful career and playing cricket for Yorkshire has taken me around the world. I wanted to go while I am still at the top. It has been an unforgettable experience and it has been a great honour to captain the side and to lead the side to the first championship title for 33 years.

“No-one can take that away from me and it will stay with me forever. I am leaving the team at the top and I sincerely hope it goes from strength to strength from here.”

In his time with Yorkshire he scored 14,398 runs at an average of 35.37. He was several times spoken of as a potential Test player, without ever forcing his way into the side, meaning that the championship victory was the pinnacle of his career. That was understood, and Yorkshire even delayed the announcement of a new captain until after Byas had taken the side to Buckingham Palace in November for the traditional presentation of the trophy by HRH Prince Philip.

Byas himself explained his reasoning behind the decision. “I was happily retired after a very enjoyable career at Yorkshire culminating in championship success last season, but after a little persuading, I see the prospect as an exciting challenge. I’m looking forward to joining up with the squad and hopefully my experience will complement the promising younger players at the club.”

With many of his Yorkshire admirers finding it hard to come to terms with his move over the Pennines, it cannot be denied that during his time at Yorkshire truly was force to reckoned with and his contribution to the club and indeed championship cricket as a whole can certainly not be denied.

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