India batsman Che Pujara is hoping back-to-back fifties in the Royal London One-Day Cup can spark a run of good form in a Yorkshire shirt during the next couple of months.
Pujara endured a frustrating start to his second spell with the White Rose, scoring only 100 runs in eight Championship innings with a best of 41.
But the 30-year-old has started the RL50 campaign impressively with 82 in Friday’s away win over Durham and 73 in Sunday’s defeat to Warwickshire at Emerald Headingley.
Pujara could miss the final 50-over North Group game against Northamptonshire at Headingley due to preparations for India’s one-off Test against Afghanistan in Bangalore (June 14-18).
He will then return for Yorkshire’s next two Championship matches against Hampshire at Southampton, starting June 20, and Surrey at Scarborough from June 25. The latter could see him come up against his Test captain Virat Kohli.
Ahead of Yorkshire’s third 50-over North Group game of eight against Worcestershire at Emerald Headingley, Pujara said: “It’s good to be back in form.
“I’ve been working really hard. I always knew there was a big one coming.
“Talking about the Championship, I didn’t get too many runs, and it was frustrating because I had prepared really well, even through March when I was in India.
“I knew what was expected of me here, so I was preparing accordingly. But when things don’t go your way, it’s frustrating.
“The good thing about me is my work ethic, and I always back myself to stick to my strength. I felt I was one good innings away.
“Now it has started, I will try to carry on with this.
“When it comes to red ball cricket, I will be back in form.
“I still have a couple more Championship games after going back to India for the one-off Test.
“I am very confident runs will come.
“I was batting well and got off to a good start. Then there was one odd run out, which didn’t help. You just accept things.
“But once you are back in form, it doesn’t matter whether it’s white or red ball cricket. This (competition) will definitely help me.
“When you have scored many runs and average more than 50, there is some pressure.
“We have played on some tough pitches, but you have to accept it will be challenging. If you are a good player, you will still score runs on those pitches.”
Yorkshire face a Worcestershire side who won their opening North Group game against Derbyshire at New Road on Saturday and are coached by former White Rose player and coach Kevin Sharp.
Tom Fell, Ben Cox and Ross Whiteley all scored fifties in posting 323-6 before Derbyshire were bowled out for 273.
They were last season’s semi-finalists and have beaten Yorkshire in each of the last two years. Last year, they won at New Road thanks largely to a century for Tom Kohler-Cadmore.
It is, therefore, a good job he will line up in a Vikings shirt today.
Worcester’s overseas player is Australian batsman Travis Head, who played all forms for Yorkshire in 2016.
“I haven’t seen a great deal of Worcestershire,” added Pujara.
“But the thing is with white ball cricket, you only focus on what you want to do as a team rather than worry about the opposition. We’ll stick to our game plan, which worked well for us against Durham.”
Steve Patterson will captain the side for a third consecutive game in Gary Ballance’s absence.
Matthew Fisher returns to the squad after recovering from a side injury suffered in pre-season. The right-arm seamer took 4 for 42 for Yorkshire 2nd XI against Warwickshire earlier in the week and is joined in the squad by the returning Jack Brooks.
Yorkshire’s 13-man squad
Andrew Hodd (Wicketkeeper)
Steve Patterson (Captain)
Watch our interview with opener Tom Kohler-Cadmore.
Yorkshire’s Royal London One-Day Cup Statistics
Royal London One-Day Cup Standings
- These two counties have very similar records against each other in all List A matches. Of the last eight such games at Headingley each county has won four.
- Yorkshire’s highest innings in List A cricket against Worcestershire is 345 for six made in 2015 but Worcestershire’s highest in these matches is 289 for three made in 1996.
- Of the ten centuries made in List A matches between these two counties only two have been scored at Headingley.
- In 1969 Richard Hutton took seven for 15 against Worcestershire at Headingley in the first season of the John Player League. Six years later Howard Cooper took six for 14 at Worcester and these performances are the two best analyses for Yorkshire against any county in all List A cricket. Worcestershire’s best against Yorkshire is five for 30 by Robert Chapman at Worcester in 1998.
Potential batting milestones in Yorkshire v Worcestershire on 23rd May 2018
AU Rashid needs 1 runs to reach 1500 runs in List A matches
TT Bresnan needs 2 runs to reach 3000 runs in List A matches
GS Ballance needs 6 runs to reach 1000 runs in List A matches at Leeds
J Leach needs 10 runs to reach 500 runs in List A matches
AZ Lees needs 67 runs to reach 500 runs in List A matches at Leeds
JA Leaning needs 72 runs to reach 1000 runs in List A matches
AJ Hodd needs 83 runs to reach 1000 runs in List A matches
AU Rashid needs 100 runs to reach 500 runs in List A matches at Leeds
JM Bairstow needs 130 runs to reach 3500 runs in List A matches
Potential bowling milestones in Yorkshire v Worcestershire on 23rd May 2018
AU Rashid needs 5 wickets to reach 50 wickets in List A matches at Leeds
Azeem Rafiq needs 7 wickets to reach 50 wickets in List A matches
JD Shantry needs 8 wickets to reach 100 wickets in List A matches
Specsavers County Championship: Division 1 (2017 performance – N/A Division Two champions)
Royal London One-Day Cup: North Group (2017 performance – 1st)
Vitality Blast: North Group (2017 performance – 8th)
Captain: Joe Leach
Head Coach: Kevin Sharp
Overseas Players: Travis Head, Martin Guptill, Callum Ferguson
Other Ins and Outs:
In – Steve Magoffin (Sussex). Out – Alexei Kervezee