Andrew Hodd is ready for his first taste of a Roses derby when Lancashire head across the Pennines for a potential make or break Friends Life t20 clash tomorrow.
Headingley promises to be packed to the rafters for a North Division fixture that neither side can really afford to lose, which is just the way the former Sussex and Surrey wicketkeeper wants it to be.
Hodd believes a full house will bring out the best in him and his White Rose team-mates after back-to-back defeats against Derbyshire and Durham to start the competition.
Although this season’s FLt20 may pan out differently, the fact that no team qualified for last season’s quarter-finals by losing more than three matches gives you an idea of the size of the task the Vikings and the Lightning will face should they lose tomorrow.
Yorkshire have lost two from two and Lancashire two from three. The likelihood is that the loser would have to go through the rest of the group unbeaten to have any chance of progression.
“Hopefully a Roses derby will bring the best out of the boys,” said Hodd.
“Both times we’ve batted and have been slow out of the blocks. But hopefully the crowd will get behind us and the boys will forget about the technical and tactical issues and just go out and enjoy it. That’s the way this game should played.
“I’ve heard a lot about the crowd at Headingley for these sorts of matches, and hopefully they can be the 12th man.
“I’m never going to play for England, and this is as close as you’ll get. The thing I want to do is play in front of big crowds. I reckon this is the biggest game on the circuit unless you reach Finals Day.”
Hodd is no stranger to success in Twenty20 having won our domestic competition with Sussex in 2009 and then subsequently travelling to play in the Champions League in India a little bit later in the year.
“I love this format. It’s short, sharp and there are big crowds. That’s where you want to be,” he commented.
While Yorkshire’s form in both 40-over and Twenty20 cricket this year has been disappointing, the 29-year-old believes they are not too far off turning it around.
“We’ve played a weakened team in the 40-over stuff after the first couple of games, and everybody understands why. But certain habits can creep in,” he added.
“I’ve been in similar position once before with Sussex, who can be slow starters. It was back when there were more games in the competition. It only takes one game to turn it around though. It’s such a confidence game that one turns into two and all of a sudden you’re on a roll and into the quarter-finals.”
Yorkshire have won six of nine Twenty20 meetings between the two counties at Headingley, including last season’s clash by 19 runs when they successfully defended a target of 181.
Azeem Rafiq starred that night with a miserly 1-22 from four overs and an excellent catch to help Rich Pyrah dismiss the dangerous Tom Smith: “There’s nothing bigger than a Roses game. If we can get a win, it will give us a lot of confidence,” added the off-spinner.
Yorkshire Vikings 14-man squad versus Lancashire Lightning:
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