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An over of news

— 10 March 2017

LIAM PLUNKETT has targeted an Ashes appearance this year, and believes the forthcoming champion county clash could help his cause.

Plunkett has starred for England with the white ball against the West Indies over the last week or so, taking a series high 10 wickets from three matches.

No other bowler on either side matched his haul.

Now, he wants to return to Test cricket for the first time since 2014, and he believes impressing for the MCC against Middlesex in Abu Dhabi later this month is the perfect way to start his bid.

Ironically, it is an injury to Yorkshire team-mate Matthew Fisher (groin) which has opened the door for Plunkett, who was not initially selected by the MCC for the fixture starting March 26.

“I’d love to play in the Ashes,” he said. “I’ve been 12th man there. At the start of the summer, I’m playing in the MCC game, which I’m looking forward to.

“(You could) get a flier there, pick up a five-fer and you go back home feeling great about yourself. So I jumped at the chance to do that.”

  • WHILE PLUNKETT finished as the leading wicket-taker in the ODI series between England and the West Indies, which the visitors won 3-0, Joe Root continued the Yorkshire dominance by finishing as the leading run-scorer.

    Root posted scores of 4, 90 not out and 101 in his haul of 195 runs.

    He finished things off with his ninth ODI century at Barbados yesterday, his first since his 109 against South Africa at Johannesburg last February.

  • YORKSHIRE WILL play Papua New Guinea and Lancashire in two-day matches on tour in Dubai later this month as they gear up for the new county season.

    The White Rose county fill face the Associate nation and their fiercest rivals at the Sevens Ground and the ICC Global Academy.

    They also face PNG and the United Arab Emirates Blues side in one-day matches.

    Yorkshire v PNG, Mar 22-23, Dubai Sevens
    Yorkshire v Lancashire, Mar 26-27, Dubai ICC Global Academy
    Yorkshire v PNG, Mar 29, Dubai Sevens
    Yorkshire v UAE Blues, Mar 31, Dubai Sevens

  • AZEEM RAFIQ has taken four wickets across his three matches so far in the Hong Kong T20 Blitz competition, although his Galaxy Gladiators side face an uphill battle to reach Sunday’s final.

    The Yorkshire off-spinner is playing in the fledgling T20 tournament involving the likes of Kumar Sangakkara, Misbah-ul-Haq, Darren Sammy and Ian Bell.

    Unfortunately, the Gladiators, including Sangakkara, Jesse Ryder and Ryan ten Doeschate, have lost two of their three matches.

    Rafiq has taken two two-wicket hauls, including 2-22 in today’s win over HKI United, and has taken the new ball in all matches.

    Their final group match takes place tomorrow.

  • THE FUNERAL of Yorkshire president John Hampshire will take place next Friday, March 17, in Rotherham.

    The ex-Yorkshire and England batsman and former international umpire passed away last week.

    His funeral will take place at The Minster Church of All Saints, Church Street, Rotherham S60 1PD at 1.45pm.

    This will be followed by a service for family and close friends at Rotherham Crematorium.

    The family are requesting that, in lieu of flowers, any donations are made to the Rotherham Hospice.

  • EARLIER THIS week, Yorkshire announced their financial results for the year ending 2016, with the club recording a small pre-tax profit.

    A profit of £3,000 was the first surplus recorded since 2009.

    Director of finance Paul Hudson said: “The club are delighted with this excellent set of results, which are another step forward in improving its financial position.

    “However, there remain many financial sensitivities within the club’s financial results. In the light of these, it remains important that finances continue to be managed in a very careful manner.”

    Yorkshire remain more than £24m in debt, although there have been encouraging signs, with a reduction in the club’s annual interest payments by approximately £300,000 per annum since the financial restructure in 2015.

    Chief executive Mark Arthur added: “These are exciting and yet challenging times for Yorkshire CCC, having made significant progress both on and off the field in the last few years.

    “We have had tremendous support from our members, corporate partners, stakeholders, players and staff in achieving this turnaround.”

  • NO BALL!!!!!!!!!!!!

    YORKSHIRE’S NEW overseas star Peter Handscomb found himself at the centre of Test Match controversy earlier this week as Australia lost their second Test against India to level things up going into the final two matches.

    As the Aussies were in the midst of their failed chase of 188 at Bangalore, captain Steve Smith was given out lbw following an Umesh Yadav grubber.

    Smith was considering whether or not to call for DRS, and whilst he did so he looked up to the dressing rooms, seemingly having been advised by non-striker Handscomb.

    Such actions are not allowed, and India captain Virat Kohli said afterwards he believed it was not the first time the tourists had done this, indicating they were cheats, which Australia vehemently denied.

    Smith described his actions as a “brain fade”, while Handscomb tweeted: “I referred Smudge to look at the box (dressing room)…my fault and was unaware of the rule. Shouldn’t take anything away from what was an amazing game.”

    There has been further bad news for Australia since the end of the Test on Tuesday, with Mitchell Marsh and former Yorkshire overseas Mitchell Starc (stress fracture of foot) both being ruled out of the rest of the series.