Andrew Gale expects Ian Fisher to be a valuable asset to Yorkshire’s new look backroom staff – and not just as a strength and conditioning coach.
The former left-arm spinner returned to Headingley in November as one of two new strength and conditioning coaches alongside Irishman Blaine Clancy to replace Tom Summers, who is now working in Hong Kong.
Fisher, born in Bradford, took 43 wickets in 24 first-class matches for Yorkshire between 1996 and 2001 before moving to Gloucestershire, Worcestershire and into a career in fitness, working most recently with Essex.
As a result, Gale believes the 37-year-old’s experience of the game can be used to supplement their cricket knowledge behind the scenes.
“I don’t really know much about Fish from a fitness point of view because I haven’t worked with him yet, but the feedback I’m getting from the lads back home is that so far he’s been very, very good,” said Gale, currently in Australia.
“He got pneumonia just after he joined us, so he was in hospital for a while with that.
“As a bloke, I know him quite well. I know him more through Anthony McGrath than anything and having played against him. He’s a good bloke who knows the game having had a good career.
“We’ve sort of got him in two roles really. His main job is to be a fitness coach, but there’s no reason why we can’t pick his brains as a cricket coach as well.”
Yorkshire’s captain may be spending the winter playing grade cricket with Melbourne side Dandenong at the weekends this winter, but he is still sticking to a strict fitness programme devised by Fisher.
“I think it’s good having someone who’s got a cricket background, and a Yorkshire background is a bonus,” added Gale.
“It takes time for someone who doesn’t know about cricket to come in and adapt to what sort of fitness is needed. Fish knows all about that.
“It definitely took Tom a while to understand what we needed as a group, but he was very good at that over a period of time.
“We will miss Tom, but in Ian Fisher and Blaine Clancy I think we’ve got two excellent guys.”
Fisher is still registered to play in the Bradford League this summer with New Farnley.
Yorkshire have also replaced longstanding physiotherapist Scot McAllister, who is now working with the Scotland rugby union sevens squad, with former Hull rugby league physio Kunwar Bansil.
The new backroom coaches have introduced yoga sessions to Yorkshire’s pre-season schedule, which they hope to continue through the summer, as a way of improving the players’ flexibility in the field.
“I don’t think they realised how hard yoga can be, but it helps with the players’ mobility and movement and it will help with their fielding in particular to make sure their mobility is better and they are more flexible,” added Martyn Moxon, Yorkshire’s director of cricket.
“We’re hoping we can carry it on throughout the season. It’s not something you can do for a couple of months and then that’s it, you’ve got to keep doing it.”