The LV= County Championship campaign is heading towards its ‘business end’. Yorkshire, with seven games to play, are slap bang in title contention with Durham and current leaders Sussex ahead of tomorrow’s clash with Derbyshire at Chesterfield.
The questions are being asked about how many wins the White Rose will need to claim the title, and director of professional cricket Martyn Moxon even quipped before leaving Chesterfield after Sunday’s Twenty20: “I’d take seven”.
Yorkshire head into the clash looking for their fifth win from their 10th match. They are currently 15 points behind leaders Sussex, who have already played 10.
Andrew Gale’s men have been handed a number of fitness boosts in recent weeks and days with the likes of Gale, Azeem Rafiq, Steve Patterson, Moin Ashraf and Phil Jaques declaring themselves fit after recent injuries.
And Jaques said: “Every game’s important now. It’s so close towards the top, and we don’t want to lose any ground on the rest of the pack, that’s for sure. It’s going to be a big game.
“We’ve started the season tremendously well in four-day cricket, and we’ll just be looking to keep the ball rolling. Hopefully we can do all our basics really well and come out on top.
“Derbyshire are a good team. There’s a reason why they got promoted last season. We’ve just got to do the simple things longer than they do. If we do the simple things well, we’ll be confident of coming out on top.”
Jaques missed Yorkshire’s last Championship match against Surrey with an abdominal strain, but he looks set to have the opportunity to build on his tally of 269 runs from eight Championship matches so far this season.
“I’d love a few more big scores, no doubt,” he added. “But the season’s still pretty early, and the weather’s good. Hopefully some big scores come before the end of the year. There’s no reason why I can’t get two or three big scores in a row. I’ll be hoping to get a start this week.”
Yorkshire will no doubt take confidence from their memorable win over Derbyshire at Headingley earlier in the season when they conceded 475 in the first innings but came back to win after starring roles for the likes of Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow and Jack Brooks.
Derbyshire currently sit bottom of Division One without a win in nine matches. They have lost six and drawn three. West Indian Shivnarine Chanderpaul is a doubt for the clash with a hamstring injury picked up last week.
Yorkshire will be at full-strength for their match against Derbyshire. The Club welcomes back captain Andrew Gale, who has fully recovered from a broken bone in his left hand sustained against Lancashire earlier this month. Gale has missed Yorkshire’s last three Friends Life T20 matches.
Yorkshire can also call upon Moin Ashraf (back), Phil Jaques (abdominal strain), Steve Patterson (toe) and Azeem Rafiq (knee). All four have fully recovered with Jaques and Rafiq playing key roles in Yorkshire’s Friends Life T20 campaign. Patterson and Ashraf have returned to action in the second team without any side effects from their recent injuries.
Yorkshire 13-man squad to face Derbyshire, beginning Wednesday July 17: