Andrew Gale unveiled as Jason Gillespie's successor as Yorkshire coach

Andrew Gale won back-to-back Championships as Yorkshire captain. Now he is taking over as coach Getty Images

Yorkshire's director of cricket, Martyn Moxon, has vowed there will be no retreat to the insular ways of old after the county responded to the loss of Australian coach Jason Gillespie by promoting Andrew Gale from the ranks.

Such assurances were conveyed to the first-team staff minutes before the unofficially Headingley unveiling of Gale, who as Yorkshire's 1st XI captain was one of the key figures in a renaissance which has brought two Championships in three years and supplied England with a steady stream of players. His opening worfds? "I bet this surprised you."

Gale has been an inspirational figure as Yorkshire's captain. His pride in the county has been unstinting, his sense of unity strong, his expectations expressed in straightforward terms that translate easily across the Broad Acres. His worth goes far beyond a playing-record of 8217 runs at 36.03. "I didn't expect the opportunity to come as early as it has, but it is one that is too good to turn down," he said.

Nevertheless, Yorkshire's history of self-sufficiency automatically invites the suspicion that they are sometimes overly tempted to trust their own judgment - it would certainly be in keeping with the political mood sweeping across the Western world - but Moxon has a broad outlook on such things and he welcomed the chance to scotch such a notion.

"We are not seeing this as an insular appointment, absolutely not," Moxon said. "I have mentioned that with the players. We don't want to see this as 'we know best' and that we have been successful over the past five years so if we just keep doing what we are doing we will be fine. We know we need an open mind, we need to be looking at new ways of doing things and we need to keep moving forward."

Indeed, Gale immediately showed a willingness to question Yorkshire lore by advocating a root-and-branch examination, from junior cricket upwards, to address the county's shortcomings in T20 cricket, and area to which Gillespie was unable to find a solution.

"We are very traditional here in Yorkshire... from a white-ball perspective we are behind with our development."

"I think we could be a bit more dynamic in the way we play our one-day cricket," he said. "At times we are a little bit one-dimensional. I don't think we work hard enough on our skills in white-ball cricket and I also think we need to be a bit more fearless.

"We are very traditional here in Yorkshire. The first thing you would teach a lad at 14-years-old is how to play a forward defence. You can make a career out of playing a scoop now. We need to change the mindset from top to bottom, right down to U-14s, U-15s. I know having played in the second team that there are other lads around the country who are a lot more skilful than out second team with white balls. Red ball is different - the lads know what they have to do - but from a white-ball perspective we are behind with our development."

There will be unworthy suspicions, too, that the choice of Gale, who has agreed a three-year contract, represents a cost-cutting measure only a week after Yorkshire protested that potential delays in the redevelopment of Headingley could seriously jeopardise their international future. "It's nothing to do with the finances," he said, before adding light-heartedly, "Anyway, he might be on more money than Dizzy."

Gale has retired immediately, at 32, after first indicating at the end of the season that he wanted to prolong his career only to be persuaded by Moxon that the time was ripe. Michael Vaughan, the former England captain and a member of Yorkshire's board, was another person who Gale used as a sounding board.

He has immediate challenges, not least the choice of a successor for his own role as captain. Alex Lees holds the role in both limited-overs formats, but Gary Ballance is also an influential figure in a strong-willed dressing room and, if indications are that his England career is losing impetus, he is bound to receive serious consideration

An overseas player is also a priority. "It depends on what happens with England and we have one eye on that at the moment," Moxon said. "But we are in the market for a top-order overseas batsman, I can say that for sure."

The appointment of Gale is a pragmatic response by Moxon, who was solely in charge of recruitment, after high-profile targets such as Paul Farbrace, the England assistant coach, and Richard Dawson, head coach at Gloucestershire - both former heads of the Yorkshire academy resisted overtures.

There was even talk of Andy Flower, the former England coach, who is now in charge of England Lions, and Brad Hodge, the former Australian batsman who is making a name for himself as a T20 coach as assistant coach to Gillespie at Adelaide Strikers and with Gujarat Lions in IPL, also had his advocates.

"Of course we were looking around and I'm sure you would expect me to do that," Moxon said. "But when I appointed people like Dizzy or Farby it felt right. That is the biggest thing about this appointment: it feels right.

Yorkshire's 1st XI is an experienced group, especially among the bowlers, which has persuaded Moxon that continuity matters. "It's important we keep that continuity and protect the environment that we've created, one that has been successful for us.

"The qualities are the togetherness we have had in the group, the strong leadership we have had, everyone knowing their role, everyone enjoying each other's success and an honesty within the whole group. It has been a true team on and off the field

"What took up most of my thoughts was running the first team in the short term. It was clear to me he was the best man to do that. It was the least disruptive option. We want to avoid chopping and changing particularly when at a crucial period when the transition of the team is taken place."

Gale's immediate conclusion when Gillespie confirmed that he would be returning full-time to Australis had been that the vacancy had come too soon for him. But he will take his Level 4 coaching exams as soon as possible - he is already Level 3 - and his involvement in coaching is already substantial.

He is the joint owner of the Pro Coach Cricket Academy, which is based next to Yorkshire's own academy at Headingley and which delivers a wide range of coaching clinics across the county for children and adults of all abilities - sometimes in alliance with Yorkshire. Yorkshire are expected to examine how that relationship exists to safeguard Gale from suggestions of any conflict of interests.

"Initially we don't need him to be a top-level coach," Moxon said. "We need him to be a leader and a manager of men. He can do that. He will grow into the coaching side of things over the next couple of years. He is highly qualified in the way that he has led the team as captain over the past seven years and has expertise that we didn't want to lose at the club.

"When I drove into Headingley a fortnight or so ago, as a player, I had the feeling of 'here we go again'" he said. "Now I have driven here today with a real sense of excitement."

Gale had admitted to Moxon and Gillespie in mid-season that he was not enjoying his cricket and was contemplating retirement. He had been disappointed to lose not just the captaincy, but only to make fleeting appearances in Yorkshire's limited-overs side. His batting had become scratchy and his fielding was showing of signs of wear and tear. In September, he stared down an average of 21 in the Championship and resolved to carry on, but a coaching career was inevitable. It was just a matter of when and where.

As potential coaches were openly discussed around the county, Gale was under no lllusions that his Yorkshire career was drawing to a close. He remained under contract, but he had averaging only 21 in first-class cricket in 2016 and Alex Lees had replaced him as Yorkshire's captain in both limited-overs formats. His batting had become increasingly scratchy and his fielding was showing premature signs of age.

"When I drove into Headingley a fortnight or so ago, as a player, I had the feeling of 'here we go again'" he said. "Now I have driven here today with a real sense of excitement.

"Obviously, I have experience at grassroots running my own coaching company, and I have worked with young batters as a senior player about how they can improve their game, but I know senior coaching is different. I am willing to learn on the job and I need to learn quickly."

Gale is too grounded to be overly concerned by the fact that he was not Yorkshire's first choice. Most people are second choice to somebody, theoretically anyway. In fact, as club captain, he could hardly be unaware of the dead ends that Moxon came up against as he tried to find a replacement for Gillespie. But he also knows that when the applications came in, he was rapidly preferred.

"I'm under no illusion that the club would have preferred an international coach, but Martyn's philosophy was that if they couldn't get that then they didn't want too much change," he said. "I know the players inside out so that transition should be easier than somebody we could have ended up taking a punt on: we could have ended up putting fires out in the middle of the season. The state that the club is in at the moment it just needs to continue the good work we have done.

"Obviously, you are going to be more distant from the players. You are making judgments on their place in the team, and on their careers, but the relationship will natural get further apart, but I know what makes the players tick and how to get the best out of them. Whether I'm captain or coach, that's going to be the key in the short-term for this role.

"There will have to be that distance there as coach but I've never been frightened to make those decisions as a captain anyway. I guess there might be a few tough words but that's part and parcel of the job."