Yorkshire County Cricket Club’s season has already hit full speed with their first four day competitive game taking place in April. The Vikings, as Yorkshire will now be known in the One Day format, finally sold Ajmal Shazhad after his high profile disagreement with the establishment and Anthony McGrath, after 17 years faithful service to the White Rose cause, opted to retire.
However there have been notable arrivals during cricket’s off season. Young seamer Jack Brooks, a regular in the England Lions set up, has arrived from Northamptonshire. Durham offloaded former England bowler Liam Plunkett who has landed just south of Chester Le-Street at Headingley Carnegie to reinforce a bowling attack which already contains the likes of English all-rounder Tim Bresnan and former International Ryan Sidebottom.
Your reporter braved both showers and blustery winds on an overcast spring day (they assured us it was) as Yorkshire’s season opened in disastrous fashion against Sussex who showed their pedigree in a tremendous performance after their long journey from the South Coast.
On the first day of the 2013 LV County Championship, Yorkshire were shot out for a meek 96 runs and failed to make meaningful inroads into a Sussex batting line up which amassed 356 and a daunting lead with the willow in hand. Despite staunch resistance from Australian Test player Phil Jacques and the widely touted Gary Ballance who both contributed half centuries to the cause. However, such a profligate first innings performance proved insurmountable against a disciplined Sussex bowling line-up.
Close rivals Durham were Yorkshire’s next opponents in Division One and Yorkshire recovered impressively from the debacle against Sussex which coach Jason Gillespie strongly criticised. Durham sportingly declared leaving the Vikings less than 350 to chase down. Joe Root, whose performances on the subcontinent and in New Zealand over the winter have impressed the national selectors, was imperious with an authoritative 183 to anchor a tricky run chase.
As Summer has arrived with the onset of May, Yorkshire’s batting has finally come to fruition as they compiled 677 in glorious sunshine at Headingley with Joe Root smashing a career high first-class score of 236. Writing this report from the Kirkstall Lane end at Headingley, Derbyshire are fighting out the duration of the final day’s play.
With a strong squad, containing international pedigree, the White Roses can expect a strong showing across the board in the English County Season. They reached the final of the Friends Life T20 tournament, where previously the stalwart of the county season have underachieved.
Dates for the diary of any university cricket fan are:
Friday May 24 – England v New Zealand Test Match Day 1
Friday July 5 – Yorkshire v Lancashire – Friends Life T20