Test Match Sofa
Yorkshire bullish about t20 chances
By Graham Hardcastle
Yorkshire, one of three counties never to have reached Finals Day alongside Worcestershire and North Division rivals Derbyshire, believe this could be their year as they prepare for the forthcoming Friends Life t20.
A pre-season inter-counties competition win in Barbados back in March has boosted morale, while they hope the overseas signings of Australian Mitchell Starc and South African David Miller have added the X-factor to the line-up.
The county schedule has also worked in their favour, allowing them a number of opportunities to hone their skills ahead of Friday’s opener against Durham at Headingley.
They have played inter-squad practice matches at Headingley and Scarborough at the start of the week, while a match against Bradford League club Cleckheaton, captain Andrew Gale’s former side, has been arranged for Wednesday night. They will take a full squad to the Moorend ground, which could include left-handed batsman Miller.
“To win Twenty20 would be massive for us. Our main objective is to get out of Division Two in the County Championship, but I’d put Twenty20 cricket just behind it,” said Gale, whose power will be key for them at the top of the order as they look to add to just two quarter-final appearances in nine years in this format.
“To be there on Finals Day holding a trophy, it would be a massive thing for Yorkshire cricket, especially given the poor run in this form of the game in the past. I think this could really be a turning point for us.
“During the cricket we played in Barbados we found a formula that worked for us in Twenty20 cricket. Yes it was a pre-season tour, but hopefully we can take that formula into the competitive matches. There’s a good buzz around the team at the moment. You can feel that. It’s about playing with freedom. If you want to go in and hit it back over the sight screen first ball, then do it. If you get out doing it, so what.”
Gale believes momentum is a key ingredient for success in Twenty20, which means they will be viewing their match against Cleckheaton as if it was an eleventh North Division clash. The league side will feature former Yorkshire bowler James Lee and current White Rose seamer Iain Wardlaw if, as expected, he is not selected for his county.
“We’ll be playing it as a proper game because we haven’t had a great build-up to Twenty20 over the last few years,” added Gale. “It doesn’t matter who you play against in Twenty20, it’s a game of momentum. If you get into some good form by winning a few matches, you turn up to the ground and you don’t feel like you’re going to lose a match. I’m hoping this week will provide us with an opportunity to get into that form.”
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