Preview: Yorkshire set for successful season despite England call-ups for Root, Ballance and Co.

Yorkshire celebrate their county championship success
Yorkshire celebrate their county championship success

The ‘Bank of Colin Graves’ has closed, but there could still be rich dividends on the pitch again for Yorkshire this summer.

Six of the best from the White Rose, of course, will be missing for at least their first four LV= County Championship Division One matches - and it is six years since Durham became the last team to rack up successive titles.

Graves has swapped Headingley for Lord’s and will officially begin his tenure as the England and Wales Cricket Board’s new chairman next month.

He made it clear - at Yorkshire’s annual general meeting last week, as he bade farewell to the club in which he has invested so heavily - that it is time for those he leaves behind to continue his work.

But there is an undoubted will to do so and, even in the absence of those six initially on England duty for the Test tour of West Indies this month and next, the playing resources remain too.

Certainly, that was the evidence of Yorkshire’s resounding win over MCC in the mid-March curtain-raiser fixture in Abu Dhabi.

Seam linchpin Jack Brooks and emerging batsman Jack Leaning both made encouraging contributions there for a team led by young opener Alex Lees - all of whom will be available when Yorkshire begin the defence of their 31st title away to promoted Worcestershire on Sunday.

Club captain Andrew Gale will again be relegated to spectator capacity at New Road, as he was controversially when Yorkshire clinched last summer’s silverware at Trent Bridge, completing his ECB disciplinary ban.

Even so, as long as Yorkshire can channel any frustration over that and their men away in the Caribbean through a tricky set of early fixtures, they will surely be major contenders again this summer.

Their return to Nottinghamshire, for just their second match of the campaign, will bring an ironic twist as Gale makes his comeback at the venue where he was prevented from joining the celebrations last September.

It could also prove a pivotal match - because Notts, fourth last time round, look as potent a force as any to stand in the way of a White Rose follow-up.

Most counties will have no more than five championship matches left through the last two months of the season, so banking points by then will be crucial in both divisions - especially if limited-overs prizes begin to enter the equation.

Notts, Warwickshire and Yorkshire are obvious candidates to be battling on two fronts or more by August.

Of those likeliest to stay the course, Yorkshire and Notts could be in for a tight tussle at the top - and with or without any remaining Kevin Pietersen intrigue, on the back of plenty of runs from Kumar Sangakkara, Surrey ought to be well-positioned to rejoin them in the top flight.