Andrew Gale admitted it was a tough decision to end his playing career after being appointed first-team coach at Yorkshire.
The 32-year-old club captain was the surprise appointment to replace Jason Gillespie, who led the White Rose county to back-to-back County Championship titles in 2014 and 2015 before stepping down this year.
Gale, who enjoyed a close relationship with Gillespie, signed an initial three-year deal to replace the Australian, bringing an end to a 12-year first-class career after leading Yorkshire to a third-placed finish in his seventh year as skipper.
However, the early move into coaching came as a surprise for Gale, who says he had made the decision to carry on as a player despite a poor 2016 with the bat in which he averaged just 21.
“This was a tough decision to make,” he said. “I said to Martyn (Moxon, director of cricket) at the end of last season that I would continue to play.
“When I was asked about it (the coaching role), it put things in perspective. When I drove into the ground a few weeks ago, I probably didn’t have the excitement to continue playing but now I’m really excited about the opportunity.”
Gale emerged as the preferred candidate from a field of 16 applicants despite his inexperience as a professional coach.
While he accepted he was a relative novice in coaching terms, Gale feels he has an advantage due to the close relationships he forged with the players during a playing career that started with the club in 2004.
He said: “I feel I’ve got an advantage because I know the players well and I’ve got the respect of the players.
“There’s a real core of senior players in that dressing room who I’m very, very close to, and know how to get the best out of them.
“The challenge is to bring the next generation through in the next three-plus years when the senior players start to retire and move on.”
He added: “The man-management side of things comes more natural to me. It’s something I’ve done as captain.
“The challenge will be the coaching side of it, but I have a good support staff around me.
“I’m not experienced but it’s a transition that I’m willing to learn and work hard on.”
Gale is yet to appoint his successor as captain of the side, and briefly considered a dual-role: “I thought about doing both, but I don’t think I’d have done the job justice if I’d done both.
“I thought the right decision was to do one or the other.”
Moxon also admitted it was likely to be a transition period following five years of success under Gillespie, where they lost just five championship games and provided a number of players for England.
He said: “(The job) is about seeing over an inevitable transition to a younger group of players as and when the senior players retire.
“For me it was about making sure we have continuity. When we received all the applications, it became pretty clear to me that the best man for the job was actually within our group already.
“Initially Galey was not sure about ending his playing career at this time, however after thinking about it for a few days, I’m delighted that he accepted the position.”
Gale made his first-class debut in 2004, going on to score over 8,000 runs in the four-day game including 20 centuries, and became the youngest captain in the club’s long history when appointed to lead the side in 2009.
He replaces Gillespie, who chose to step down at the end of the summer in order to move back to Australia with his young family following a hugely successful time in Leeds.