Yorkshire chief executive Mark Arthur has predicted that the revamped NatWest T20 Blast competition will capture the imagination this summer.
Arthur believes the newly-branded NatWest T20 Blast is onto a winner already because the majority of fixtures will be played on Friday nights and due to the addition of star names such as Aaron Finch and Surrey’s Kevin Pietersen.
While Yorkshire have recruited Australian star Finch for Twenty20 and a bit more besides, Surrey have taken advantage of Pietersen’s controversial exit from the England scene to secure his services for Twenty20.
There is also a good chance that a number of England players will be made available to counties as they look to rebuild following a disappointing winter.
“Planning started last year when we were found wanting in the T20,” said Arthur.
“Perhaps there was an over-concentration on the Championship.
“However, with the new structure, we believe we are now able to compete in all three competitions.
“It’s obvious that not replacing David Miller and Mitchell Starc cost us in the shorter version, and we are determined to be very competitive this season. We’ve got one of the largest squads, which we have to have because of the England call-ups.
“With Kane Williamson and Aaron Finch available, I hope that the members are just as excited as we are. There are very few cricketers in the world that can actually put bums on seats. There are lots of exciting cricketers, but Aaron is one of probably a handful who can actually get people to say ‘I’m going to go and watch him play’.
“That was part of the attraction. A – we want to win; B – we want to excite the Yorkshire public.
“Yorkshire supporters are very keen on their own, so when you do make an overseas signing, it has to be one of real significance.
“We are terming it the Finch Factor, and we do believe everybody is really excited about it.
“The younger players should also learn from watching his technique. They will also learn from watching Kane’s technique too, which I think Martyn Moxon said last year is one of the best in world cricket. He’s coming to the top of his game.”
“It’s great for the competition in the first instance that it’s on Friday nights and then obviously with us signing Finch and Pietersen making himself available as well, I believe the competition will really take off this year,” said Arthur.
“We obviously don’t know the exact details at this stage, but we are aware that England players are likely to be made available for a period of time this summer.
“From a Yorkshire point of view, the thought of our international players being available, plus the pedigree that’s already in the squad, it’s a mouthwatering prospect for us.”
Yorkshire’s capture of Finch, ranked as the world’s third best T20 batsman, is a real statement of intent following a 2013 campaign which saw them win only two of ten 20-over matches.