Test Match Sofa
Gale bullish about Yorkshire's CLt20 chances
By Graham Hardcastle, in South Africa
Andrew Gale is confident that his young Yorkshire team can stand up to the challenge of facing some of world cricket's star names during their forthcoming Champions League t20 campaign in South Africa, starting on Tuesday (October 9).
The White Rose county's preparations step up a notch tomorrow when they face a warm-up match against Sialkot Stallions from Pakistan at the Wanderers in Johannesburg (9am UK time).
Yorkshire have been placed in Qualifying Pool 2 alongside Sri Lanka's Uva Next and Trinidad and Tobago from the West Indies, with two wins needed to secure their place in Group B of the main draw.
Even the qualifying competition pairs the White Rose against the likes of Umar Gul, Jacob Oram and Shivnarine Chanderpaul, all of whom play for Uva. But progressing through to the main draw sets up the mouthwatering prospect of
facing former Yorkshire overseas player Sachin Tendulkar in a clash against the Mumbai Indians during the next fortnight.
"I think we've got a group of players who won't be overawed by it all," said captain Gale, whose side will be without England duo Tim Bresnan and Jonny Bairstow completely. Overseas ace David Miller's availability, meanwhile, is
"They'll respect the opposition and some of the stars they're playing against, but we've got quite a few characters who are in your face like Azeem Rafiq for example. They won't care who they're playing against, they will just want to get
"We were chatting around the pool yesterday, and if we get through we'll be playing against the likes of Mumbai and Sachin Tendulkar. That's just egging us on even more to win these next two games so that we can go and play against
these sorts of teams."
Yorkshire have been in Johannesburg since Wednesday morning, whereas some of the other teams have only been arriving either yesterday or today. The CLt20 organisers pay for all teams' expenses from the start of this weekend, but Yorkshire have paid for themselves to come out early.
"There's been a lot going on with some of the other teams, but some of them like Auckland have been here for two weeks already," added Gale.
"The money wasn't there from the Champions League organisers to come out until yesterday or today, but it just shows how much we value the competition that the club put their hands in their pockets and forked out the cash for us to come and get the best preparation.
"Preparation has gone as well as we could have hoped. There's been no laziness around, no end of season feeling. It's been more of a pre-season feeling. The lads have worked really hard over the last two or three days, and we're really
pleased with how it's gone. We've given ourselves every opportunity to go as far as we want in this competition."
Gale expects to field his strongest team possible against Sialkot tomorrow, with the main selection call being whether to play two spinners and lengthen the batting or play an extra seamer.
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