By Graham Hardcastle and Paul Dyson.

It has been a productive winter for all-rounder Matthew Waite. Now, with the 2019 summer about to start, he is hoping for more of the same.

Waite, 23, is in line to start a campaign in the first team for the first time.

A winter of grade cricket in Sydney has, he admits, been good for him on and off the field, while he was arguably the standout performer on Yorkshire’s recent pre-season camp in Potchefstroom.

Waite is almost certain to face Leeds/Bradford MCC Universities in the three-day first-class fixture at Weetwood from Sunday (11am).

And a place in the team against Nottinghamshire (April 5) at Trent Bridge in the opening round Specsavers County Championship match could follow, especially with Tim Bresnan (back) still approximately a fortnight from full fitness.

“Joe Root won’t be available, but we will be as close to our starting eleven as we can,” said coach Andrew Gale of the University match.

“The lads have come back from South Africa in good form. I want them to come out of that game full of confidence. We won’t be treating it light-heartedly, that’s for sure.”

Waite impressed with bat and ball in South Africa, even opening the bowling in both red and white ball matches.

“I wasn’t expecting it, but I’ve done it quite a lot in the Academy and for the second team,” he said. “We were happy with how it went.

“I don’t think I’ll really do it in the season with Duanne Olivier and Ben Coad there. But it’s another option.

“It’s an advantage if it’s swinging, and I’d be comfortable doing it.”

Ironically, Waite’s winter started as the seventh bowler used by Sydney side Bankstown.

“They like to back their own lads over there, which is not a bad thing,” he explained. “I’d have liked to have bowled a bit more before Christmas, but I ended up opening the bowling afterwards.

“Bowling over a continued period has helped. I’ve just got to keep that rhythm going.

“Sydney was big me. I loved it. Being outdoors all winter probably made it easier for me to hit the ground running than a few of the other Yorkshire lads who had been indoors.

“Lifestyle wise, it was important – cooking for yourself, things like that. Cricket wise, it was a really good standard and you had to be at your best to compete.”

Since making his Yorkshire debut in 2014, Waite’s first-team appearances have been limited across all formats, with injuries playing their part. He missed the second half of 2017 following ankle surgery and also missed the start of last season.

But he impressed in three Championship matches last September, including the high-scoring draw at Notts.

“I’m of a good age now at 23,” he said. “I’ve had a taste of it all before and have done quite well. I’ve been a bit unlucky with injuries, but hopefully they’re behind me and I can have a really good season.

“To get the nod first game would fill me with confidence as that’s never happened before.”

As Waite says, Ben Coad and Duanne Olivier are likely to share the new ball for the majority of the summer. But Waite would not shy away from the job if called upon, and his natural ability to swing the ball away from the right-hander is an advantage: “I’ve also been working with Rich (Pyrah) on a ball which comes back in,” he added.

Meanwhile, left-arm spinner James Logan has been told he requires surgery on the broken thumb he suffered in Potchefstroom.

While last season’s clash with Leeds/Bradford was washed out, Yorkshire won by an innings in 2017.

Comment

And they’re off! Yes, March 31st sure is very early to be lacing up the boots and strapping on the pads, but let’s be honest about it, as cricket lovers we’re happy enough to layer up and head for Weetwood.

That’s where Andrew Gale’s White Rose charges will be heading for this week’s First-Class opener against Leeds Bradford MCCU, aiming to applying the finishing touches to their pre-season prep before heading on to Trent Bridge for the first championship match later in the week.

You would expect Gale to play something very close to, if not the same team as we’ll see in Nottingham at the north-west Leeds venue, which will be a very useful exercise back in English conditions, after what the coach described as a great recent trip to South Africa.

For Tykes supporters, it will be a first opportunity to see Kolpak signing Duanne Olivier at close quarters, which will surely be worth the trip in itself. The man who did so much damage for South Africa in recent months will spearhead the Yorkshire title challenge with the ball.

Steve Patterson will continue to lead the four-day challenge, and the squad looks like to have a nice blend of experience, plus some precocious younger talent. With the uncontested toss from two away games first up, plus the services of England skipper Joe Root, there is optimism that the team can get off to a flyer, and then who knows?! Here’s hoping…

I’ll be on hand to provide updates from Weetwood, and then covering every ball of every other Yorkshire game throughout the season. I do hope you can join me as we chart the progress of YCCC on BBC Radio Leeds.

Stay on the front foot!

Jonathan Doidge, BBC Radio Leeds.

13-man squad

Gary Ballance
Harry Brook
Tom Kohler-Cadmore
Ben Coad
Jack Leaning
Adam Lyth
Duanne Olivier
Steven Patterson Captain
Mathew Pillans
Jonathan Tattersall (WK)
Josh Shaw
Matthew Waite
Jared Warner

Team news

Left-arm spinner James Logan is sidelined with a broken thumb (right hand). He sustained the injury on the final day of tour, will undergo surgery on Friday and could be sidelined for up to six weeks.

Yorkshire talisman Tim Bresnsan has been ruled out of the opening First-Class fixture of 2019 due to a back injury. The club’s medical staff are keeping this under review and there is no current timescale on his anticipated absence.

Fast bowler Matthew Fisher, who struggled with a stress fracture of the back towards the end of the club’s 2018 campaign, broke his thumb three weeks ago and is another three weeks away from playing competitive cricket again.

England cricket management has decided leg spinner Adil Rashid requires rest after straining his right shoulder during a busy winter with the international side. England are hopeful that the Bradfordian will be made available for the beginning of the domestic 50-over competition.

Match statistics

  • Yorkshire has played against Leeds/Bradford University 14 times but only five of these games have been designated first-class.
  • Yorkshire has never been on the losing side.
  • Five of the last seven matches have ended as a draw.
  • Yorkshire’s highest total is 546-7dec but the University’s best is 241.
  • No member of the University team has ever scored a first-class century in this fixture; the best was 69 by Alex MacQueen in 2012.
  • The best innings bowling figures for the University are seven for 45 by James Lee in 2013 but no Yorkshire bowler has taken more than six wickets in an innings.

Milestones

Potential batting milestones in Leeds/Bradford Marylebone Cricket Club University v Yorkshire on 31st Mar 2019

  • JE Root needs 26 runs to reach 10500 runs in First-class matches
  • TT Bresnan needs 44 runs to reach 6500 runs in First-class matches
  • A Lyth needs 56 runs to reach 500 runs in First-class matches against Leeds/Bradford Marylebone Cricket Club University
  • A Lyth needs 142 runs to reach 10000 runs in First-class matches
  • JA Tattersall needs 150 runs to reach 500 runs in First-class matches

Potential bowling milestones in Leeds/Bradford Marylebone Cricket Club University v Yorkshire on 31st Mar 2019

  • D Olivier needs 1 wickets to reach 400 wickets in First-class matches
  • TT Bresnan needs 4 wickets to reach 550 wickets in First-class matches
  • JE Root needs 10 wickets to reach 50 wickets in First-class matches

Match information

  • Supplied from Leeds University in relation to Weetwood.

PARKING

  • There is NO parking at the venue on Sunday.
  • Limited parking on Monday and Tuesday.

Additional information

  • There will be bag checks at the entry point to the venue
  • NO ALCOHOL to be brought onto site
  • No glass will be permitted onto site e.g. Bottles
  • There is very limited spectator seating at the venue – Please bring your own chairs.

Refreshments

  • Refreshments/food will be available on site for purchase

Weather

Outlook for Saturday to Monday

Rather cloudy at first on Saturday with some patchy rain but it will then brighten up later with sunny spells developing. However, it will feel colder. Overnight, it will be cold and dry with clear skies. On Sunday, it will be dry but with a fair amount of cloud and just occasional sunshine. Monday will be mostly dry but cloudy and there is a chance of a little rain later.

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