Test Match Sofa
It's pouring, not raining, in Yorkshire
By Tim Wellock
Most counties have had cause to reflect that it never rains but it pours, and in Yorkshire’s case the old adage is becoming particularly apt. After losing Ajmal Shahzad to their Roses rivals Lancashire they have run into a visa problem surrounding new overseas signing Mitchell Starc.
They hope to have it sorted in time for the Australian left-arm paceman to make his debut against Gloucestershire at Bristol. But it’s another problem they could have done without.
The issue is believed to surround an incorrectly filled out application from Cricket Australia and if it cannot be cleared up at this end he faces having to fly home. He was reported to have been questioned by authorities for almost five hours on arrival at Heathrow on Saturday.
Starc could be called up by Australia for their one-day tour of the UK on June 21-July 10, while Australia A also tour these shores between July 27 and August 17.
Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie said: “If he gets called up for Australia, that takes priority. But we’re hopeful he’ll be here for the majority of the summer.”
Shahzad has joined Lancashire on loan for the rest of the season, prompting the thought that if it doesn’t work out he could be left in limbo as he appears to have burned his boats with Yorkshire.
While denying that he had implicated Shahzad when he described the performance of some players as a “disgrace” at the end of last season, chairman Colin Graves last week insisted that the player was not a team man.
It underlines the difficulties of integrating players of an Asian background, something with which Yorkshire have struggled for years but are by no means alone.
Think of Aftab Habib (Leicestershire and Essex) and Usman Afzaal (Nottinghamshire, Northants and Surrey), who both played briefly for England before moving counties and failing to fulfil their potential. Nottinghamshire batsman Bilal Shafayat is another of whom the great things which were predicted have not materialised.
Perhaps Shahzad will find himself competing for a place with Sajid Mahmood, another whose stock has fallen since playing in eight Tests in 2006 and 2007.
Shahzad, meanwhile, is the first player to cross the Pennines since David Byas in 2002, an arrangement which lasted only one season. But at least the paceman will not be the only Yorkshire-born player in Lancashire’s squad as skipper Glen Chapple hails from Skipton.
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