By Graham Hardcastle and Paul Dyson.

Keshav Maharaj is hoping to showcase a different side of his game to Yorkshire fans and others watching around the world during the second half of the Vitality Blast.

The South African international left-arm spinner has returned to White Rose ranks and was due to play in last night’s rained-off Roses clash at Emirates Old Trafford, a result which further dents the Vikings hopes of quarter-final qualification.

Instead, he will prepare to face Derbyshire Falcons at Emerald Headingley on Sunday afternoon (3pm), a must win game for the hosts.

Maharaj, 29, has starred in Yorkshire’s last three County Championship matches with 20 wickets and two half-centuries down the order with his swashbuckling style of batting.

He will also play in the next two against Nottinghamshire at Scarborough from next Sunday and against Somerset at Taunton (September 10) before a Test tour of India.

Around those two Championship appearances, Maharaj will be available for the rest of the Blast group stages – there are six remaining fixtures – and any potential quarter-final at the start of next month.

It is a format he is desperate to prosper in.

“I’m really excited to be back,” he said, having returned to South Africa for a national awards dinner, something which was part of his central contract duties.

“To get the opportunity to play some T20 cricket and to pick up where I left off in the last three Championship games, I can’t wait.

“Hopefully I can contribute towards some victories and help qualify for the knockout stages.

“I’ve been wanting to play T20 cricket all over the world. It’s any professional cricketer’s dream.

“I’m lucky enough to have been given the opportunity, so I’m really excited.

“There’s some of the world’s best players in this competition, as well as the local players, and I’m really looking forward to testing myself.

“When you showcase yourself in the various competitions, it gives you the opportunity to market yourself as a bowler.

“I’m also very keen to play for South Africa. That’s a big thing for me.”

Maharaj has played 87 career T20s, taking 68 wickets, with an impressive economy rate of 6.81 runs per over. But he hasn’t played any international T20 and has only played four one-day internationals.

“Various bowlers have various plans in T20 cricket,” he continued. “But I pride myself on keeping the runs down and gaining wickets. That’s the way I go about it.

“Who knows, it may change this time. I may get wickets and be more expensive.”

The 25-time Test Match bowler will soon resume four-day action for Yorkshire after a superb start to his short-term overseas stint.

Of the three matches he has played so far, two of them have been victories – against Surrey at Scarborough and against pre-game Division One leaders Somerset at Headingley, in which he took eleven wickets and scored a first-innings fifty.

“I think I surprised myself having come from not playing any cricket in our pre-season back at home,” he said.
“Contributing to two victories was the most important thing for me, and hopefully I can do that again in the next two Championship games.

“There’s four games left for Yorkshire, and who knows what will happen.

“If we get four wins and other results go our way, it could very well be a Yorkshire title.

“The boys have put in a lot of hard work, and the rewards would be richly deserved.”

Umpires Ian Gould and Jeremy Lloyds called off last night’s Roses clash just before 7.30pm following heavy rain overnight and throughout the day in Manchester.

Team news

Tom Kohler-Cadmore captains the side with Steven Patterson opting for an extended period of rest. The Club captain has been bowling with the red ball and is working towards next week’s Specsavers County Championship match against Nottinghamshire at North Marine Road, Scarborough.

Gary Ballance, currently struggling with a hamstring complaint, is unlikely to feature and Harry Brook also misses out.

Will Fraine comes into the squad, while leg-spinning all-rounder Adil Rashid underwent a scan on his problematic right shoulder on Tuesday and the Club are awaiting feedback from the England medical team.

Leg-spinner Josh Poysden (head) and slow left-armer James Logan (back) have been ruled out for the rest of the season.

Seamer Matthew Fisher (dislocated shoulder/broken thumb), who has been easing back into his bowling work, is around three/four weeks away from a return to competitive cricket.

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