Andrew Gale says former Yorkshire junior wicketkeeper-batsman Josh Inglis has what it takes to become an Australian international.
Leeds-born Inglis, 26, played under 11s representative cricket with Jordan Thompson before emigrating to Perth with his family shortly before his 15th birthday.
He returned to play briefly for Yorkshire’s second team alongside the likes of Ben Coad, Steve Patterson and Adil Rashid, but has since made a name for himself Down Under.
Inglis has shone for both Western Australia in state cricket and Perth Scorchers in the Big Bash.
And he returns to Emerald Headingley as Leicestershire’s overseas player in tomorrow night’s Vitality Blast clash (6.30pm).
Gale did not come across Inglis, a keeper and an inventive top order batsman in T20, during the latter’s time in the Yorkshire set-up.
But he has seen him first hand in the Big Bash, where Gale has recently worked as a member of the Hobart Hurricanes coaching team.
“He’s done really well,” said Gale. “I think he’s improved a lot, and quickly. I saw him out in the Big Bash in person and then on TV. He looks a proper player.
“They have very good competition for that keeper’s spot, with someone like a Josh Philippe around as well. He’s also very good.
“He (Inglis) will probably need another good Big Bash this coming winter to get right in the frame with the Aussies. But there’s no reason why not.”
Inglis, who has scored 24, 34 and seven in three Blast games for the Foxes so far – they have lost all three, is one of a number of former Yorkshire players plying their trade elsewhere.
“He is a bit different because of his family circumstances,” said Gale.
“But it’s particularly nice to see someone like James Logan go and get a gig somewhere else (Kent) after things just didn’t work out for him with us. Ed Barnes as well with Leicester.
“You can’t get them all in at Yorkshire.
“The hardest part of the job is almost taking their dream away because they want to have 20 years at Yorkshire winning Championships.
“When you take that away from them, you hope they get the chance to do it somewhere else.”
Yorkshire have won one and lost one to start this season’s Blast, beating Birmingham at Emerald Headingley on Thursday and losing to Durham at the Riverside on Friday.
Leicestershire have suffered defeats to Lancashire, Derbyshire and, most recently, Durham on Sunday.
Durham were 85-7 chasing 169 and recovered their innings in similar fashion to how they did against Yorkshire on Friday night.
Leicester may be on the ropes early on, but Gale warned: “Anyone on the night is tough to beat. Durham looked a good side, Lancashire always do.
“Look at all teams. We beat Birmingham comfortably on Thursday and on Friday then went and got 230 and beat Notts, the defending champions.
“It’s the nature of the game. It’s about having match-winners in your team, and I’m confident we have a fair few of them.
“I think this could be a tournament of two halves because of the availability of the England players.
“It would be nice to get some points on the board before they leave, more to take pressure off the lads coming in.
“Durham wasn’t ideal in that respect, but we still have enough players to win T20 games when they leave.”
The England players will leave the White Rose at the end of this week ahead of a T20 series against Sri Lanka. Captain David Willey has been picked alongside Jonny Bairstow, Dawid Malan and Rashid.
One player who could come back into the reckoning when they go is Gary Ballance, who scored a blistering Roses century in the second team at Liverpool last week – 125 off 56 balls with 11×4s and 9×6s.
“Gary is gutted he is not playing. But he missed the full comp last season and Will Fraine did really well,” added Gale. “As we know, this competition is a roller coaster and things change quickly.
“I’m sure Gary will play his part at some stage.”
Dom Bess returns to the squad having been unavailable last week after joining up with the England Test squad.
Matthew Fisher played a full part in the second team games last week and returns following an abdominal injury.
13-man squad to take on Leicestershire Foxes
Jonny Bairstow (Wicketkeeper)
David Willey (Captain)
A look at the opposition – Leicestershire Foxes
Coach: Paul Nixon
Captain: Colin Ackermann
Last Year’s Performance: Quarter-finalists
2020 Leading Runscorer: Aaron Lilley (278 @ 30.88)
2020 Leading Wicket Taker: Gavin Griffiths (10
18.00), Callum Parkinson (10 21.00).
Overseas players: Naveen-ul-Haq (Afghanistan – whole tournament), Josh Inglis (Australia – whole tournament).
Key man: Colin Ackermann – Leicestershire’s world-record holder – the only bowler to take seven wickets in a T20 innings – remains the county’s mainstay in all formats.
Flies under the radar: Gavin Griffiths – Joint leading wicket-taker in 2021, the Lancastrian pace bowler has 32 T20 wickets in four seasons since moving to the Uptonsteel County Ground.
Best Player Under 24: Naveen-ul-Haq – Only 21 years old, the Afghanistan fast bowler has already played in eight T20Is and seven ODIs. Known for his unusual action and an array of slower balls.
Blast expectations: Bottom of the North Division in 2019, Leicestershire surprised even themselves last year by almost reaching Finals Day for the first time since 2011. The Foxes squeezed into the knock-out stage with wins against Nottinghamshire and Lancashire before an unlucky exit in a low-scoring quarter-final against the eventual champions at Trent Bridge, when a last-ball misfield cruelly eliminated Leicestershire on the tie-breaker of runs scored in the Powerplay. Whether they can go one better this season remains to be seen but overseas pair Naveen-ul-Haq and Josh Inglis come with good stats in the format, while Scott Steel, their signing from Durham, had an outstanding 2019, including a 30-ball 70 against the Foxes at Grace Road. They will hope at least to be in contention.
The Key Statistics
• Each team has passed 200 twice in the T20 matches between these two counties and for both sides one was at Headingley and one at Leicester. Yorkshire’s highest is 255 for two at Leicester in 2019 (its second-highest against any team) and Leicestershire’s is 221 for three at Headingley in 2004.
• In 2004 Darren Maddy scored 111 at Headingley and this remains the highest innings in a T20 match for any opponent against Yorkshire. No Yorkshire batsman has scored a century against Leicestershire, the highest being 96 not out by Tom Kohler-Cadmore at Leicester in 2019.
• In 2013 Jack Brooks took five for 21 for Yorkshire at Headingley in this series but no Leicestershire bowler has even taken four wickets in a match against Yorkshire, its best being three for three by Jigar Naik at Headingley in 2011.
HOW TO FOLLOW
You can keep up to date with proceedings via the live stream that will be available on yorkshireccc.com. There will also be a match blog on the website, and the clips available via the match centre. Highlights will also be available after the game.