Overseas quick Lockie Ferguson says there are comparisons to be drawn between the dressing room cultures at Yorkshire and New Zealand.
The Kiwi fast bowler is loving his first campaign in White Rose colours, helping the Vikings into a healthy state in the Vitality Blast North Group, despite last night’s heavy defeat at Birmingham.
Ferguson has described the Yorkshire players as a “humble” group.
Humility is a word often used to describe New Zealand’s teams under Kane Williamson.
And ahead of tomorrow’s Sky Sports televised Roses clash with Lancashire at Emerald Headingley (6.30pm), Ferguson said: “I came into the group and wasn’t sure what they would be like. But they are the most humble bunch I’ve played with.
“It’s a testament to the coaching staff and the captains – we’ve had three of them in the competition – that the players have stayed level throughout.
“I’ve talked to the boys about this, and the New Zealand team I play in we focus on what we call horizontal hierarchy.
“That’s not just the coaches and senior players having a say, but the younger ones with new ideas and a new way of playing the game. They have just as much a say.
“That happens at Auckland as well, and it happens here.
“The way the lads have accepted me in, and given me a bit of stick, which I love, has been amazing.
“You’re going to have ups and downs in cricket. But that culture is what helps you bounce back from the tough nights.”
Bouncing back from a tough night is exactly the task facing Yorkshire after the 10-wicket defeat at Edgbaston. It was their third defeat in 10 games and meant they slipped to second in the group on net run-rate behind Nottinghamshire.
One more win from four games should qualify the Vikings for the quarter-finals, and the first opportunity could not be greater given it is against Lancashire.
They have endured a difficult competition, losing four of nine games.
The Lightning go in search of win number four against Worcestershire at Emirates Old Trafford tonight.
Despite being bowled out for 81 by the Bears, their lowest ever Blast total, stand-in captain Adam Lyth insists Yorkshire will not shy away from their aggressive style of batting when they step out at Headingley.
“We have to take the aggressive option like we have done all season,” he said.
“We’re on our home ground, and just because we’ve been bowled out for 80 doesn’t mean we’re going to play any different. Hopefully we just don’t get out!”
Lancashire will field overseas batsmen Finn Allen and captain Dane Vilas.
Kiwi Allen is a close friend of Ferguson’s. The two played together at Auckland before the 22-year-old moved to Wellington.
A hard-hitting opener, Allen has burst onto the scene over the last nine months with some outstanding performances in New Zealand’s Super Smash competition.
He debuted for his country in T20s in March, posting a top-score of 71 in three games.
He immediately went to the IPL with Royal Challengers Bangalore, where he gained experience training alongside and watching AB De Villiers, Virat Kohli and Glenn Maxwell.
Prior to tonight’s Worcester game, he had scored two fifties in eight Blast innings for the Lightning. And Ferguson is well aware of his threat.
“Finn is an absolute gun,” he added. “He’s a very confident young lad.
“He has some seriously quick hands and hand eye co-ordination.
“In terms of New Zealand Cricket, it’s exciting that we have a young guy who has that much confidence and is prepared to take the game on. That is all you can ask of young players.
“I’m excited to play against him. I’ve been giving him a bit of banter, as you do.
“I’ve not played against him in a game, just bowled to him in the nets.”
Harry Duke comes into the squad and will keep wicket.
Jonny Bairstow, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid, Joe Root and David Willey are all unavailable due to England commitments.
Tom Kohler-Cadmore (broken finger) and Will Fraine (oblique strain) remain on the sidelines.
13-man squad to take on Lancashire Lightning
Harry Duke (Wicketkeeper)
Adam Lyth (Captain)
A look at the opposition – Lancashire Lightning
Coach: Glen Chapple
Captain: Dane Vilas
Last year’s performance: Semi-finalists
2020 Leading Runscorer: Alex Davies (299, 29.9)
2020 Leading Wicket Taker: Matthew Parkinson (15, 20.66)
Overseas players: Dane Vilas (South Africa – whole tournament), Finn Allen (New Zealand – whole group stage, knockouts TBC)
Key man: Matthew Parkinson – England leg-spinner with 75 wickets in the last four Blast campaigns combined. Lightning’s leading wicket taker in each of those. Loves bowling at difficult times, including at the death.
Flies under the radar: Alex Davies – England players Livingstone, Mahmood and Parkinson get the headlines, but the diminutive wicketkeeper batsman (opener) is a star performer. Lightning’s leading runscorer for last three years, including 534 in 2018.
Best player under 24: Finn Allen – Explosive batsman, 22, who made T20 debut for New Zealand in March. Tall opener similar to Tom Banton. Could break up longstanding opening partnership between Alex Davies and Liam Livingstone.
Blast expectations: Lancashire are desperate to add to the solitary title they won in 2015 under the guidance of current England director of cricket Ashley Giles. Beaten semi-finalists in 2018 and 2020, they were beaten in the quarters by 2019 champions Essex. They have all the tools at their disposal. Power and nous with the bat, plenty of pace and spin with the ball. Especially strong on home turf at Emirates Old Trafford, where they push the boundaries out to suit their spinners. With the bat, they have more than enough power to clear those boundaries. It would be a big surprise if they didn’t reach the quarter-finals. Then it is just about being better in those pressure moments which come in knockout games. Only current champions Nottinghamshire have won more matches (119) than Lancashire (118) since the start of the Vitality Blast in 2003.
The Key Statistics
• Yorkshire have had more abandoned matches against Lancashire – four – than against any other team; there have been two in each county.
• There have been four scores of 200 or over (three by Lancashire and one by Yorkshire) in T20 matches between these two counties but all have been made at Old Trafford. The highest total at Headingley is 186 for six by Lancashire in 2015. Yorkshire’s highest at Headingley is 185 for six made in the same match.
• Yorkshire’s highest individual innings in a T20 match against Lancashire at Headingley is 108 not out by Ian Harvey in 2004. No Lancashire batsman has scored a T20 century at Headingley, the highest innings being Andrew Flintoff’s 85 in 2004.
• In 2017 Tim Bresnan took six for 19 for Yorkshire at Headingley but Lancashire’s best on the ground is four for 23 by Matt Parkinson in the same match.
• In 2017 Tim Bresnan took six for 19 against Lancashire at Headingley (the county’s record against all opponents) but Lancashire’s best bowling in a T20 match against Yorkshire is four for 23 by Matt Parkinson in the same match.
HOW TO FOLLOW
The game will be broadcast live on Sky Sport Cricket. There will also be a match blog on the website, and the clips available via the match centre.