In this edition of ‘Yorkshire Informer’ we look ahead to the LV= County Championship match when Yorkshire travel to face Durham at Emirates Durham ICG, commencing on Wednesday April 24.
Yorkshire paceman Liam Plunkett and leg spinner Adil Rashid look ahead to the Durham clash, where the White Rose will be hoping to get a positive result after losing to Sussex in the opening County Championship match of the season two weeks ago.
We also bring you all the team news, including an injury to spinner Azeem Rafiq, and a full statspack.
How will it feel coming up against your former colleagues in only your second game for Yorkshire?
“I’m really excited and can’t wait to play against Durham. It will good to play against my old team-mates and friends, and I’m certainly up for it. I feel like I’m bowling nicely at the minute, so physically and mentally I’m in a good place.
“You get boxers and UFC fighters who have to fight against their best mates, don’t they. I’m glad I don’t have to do that. All I’m having to do is get them out.
“It’s good competition and tough work on the field, but I’m sure I’ll be having a bite to eat with some of them off it. It’s where I played all my county years, and it should be good fun.
What are your memories of Durham?
“I’ve got some very fond memories, and I enjoyed the place. I won two Championship medals there, a one-day trophy. I also played for England at Chester-le-Street as well. But I knew it was the right time to move here to Yorkshire.”
How have you settled into the Yorkshire set-up?
“The Club has been great to me. They’ve just said ‘try to hit the pitch as hard as you can’. When I usually do that, everything else fits into place. I’m bowling in good areas instead of worrying about certain stuff. That’s how you get your wickets.
“When I feel good about myself, it’s when I’m running in bowling at 90mph. It’s just about getting that consistency I guess. It feels so natural to do that. I’m quite a fit guy. I take pride in my fitness, so being quite strong allows me to do that.”
How are you feeling having played a pivotal role in the recent Lancashire friendly, where you scored a century and bowled with control?
“I’m in a good place at the moment and enjoying my cricket. Even though it was a friendly, it gave me the opportunity to have time in the middle. It’s never easy to score a century, whether it is a friendly or a First-Class game. It was good to bat for a long period and play my shots.
“Due to the high winds, it was difficult to bowl with control. However, I stuck to the task with discipline and as the game went on I grew with confidence. I want to replicate that this week against Durham this week.”
What would you like to achieve in 2013?
“There is a massive amount of cricket to be played in all forms of the game and I owe it myself to be consistent in every part of my game. If I play to my best, then I can be an asset to Yorkshire. I have a chance now to establish myself in the team. I’m not looking too far ahead and will just go up to Durham and enjoy my cricket with the lads. If I do that then everything will take care of itself.”
What can we expect from Durham?
“It will be tough, no doubt about it. Just like ourselves, they’ll want to prove a point and aim for a win after they lost to Warwickshire last week.
“We were hurting after the disappointing performance against Sussex a couple of weeks back. We have talked as a team how can improve and iron out the mistakes we made in that game. We owe it to ourselves to put in a performance and get back on track.
“The Riverside is a difficult place to play cricket during the early part of season. Moving back into the First Division gives us a chance to see how good we are. I feel we have enough quality in our side to compete for the title. If we are going to dream big and achieve some success, then these are the matches we have to compete and aim to win.”
Yorkshire have named a 12-man squad for the match versus Durham. Spinner Azeem Rafiq has been ruled out for six weeks with an injury to his right knee. Rafiq will now be put through a full rehabilitation programme with the Club’s medical team.
“Raf (Azeem Rafiq) has been complaining of a niggle to his knee, which has caused him some discomfort in recent weeks,” said First Team Physiotherapist Scot McAllister.
“We decided to send him for a scan on Friday, which revealed that he has a problem with his knee. We will now implement a full rehabilitation programme with a view to getting him back to full fitness within the next six weeks.”
The White Rose welcome back England duo Tim Bresnan and Joe Root, who are set to play their opening LV= County Championship matches of the season.
The starting XI will be named before the toss on Wednesday.
Andrew Gale requires 23 runs for a First-Class career total of 5000.
Jonny Bairstow requires 54 runs for a First-Class career total of 4000.
Adil Rashid requires 4 wickets for a First-Class career total of 300.
Adil Rashid is one match short of 100 First-Class career matches.
On April 22 1863, 150 years ago this week, a meeting took place at the Adelphi Hotel, Sheffield featuring “Gentlemen in favour of the establishment of a County Cricket Club” at which officials appointed a committee to collect subscriptions, draw up rules and make any other preliminary arrangements. This was date the Club was officially inaugurated. Yorkshire’s first competitive game took place against Surrey at the Oval on June 4,5,6 1863.
Durham v Yorkshire all-time County Championship record: