Yorkshire’s management are hopeful of having England Test captain Joe Root available for five of the first six Specsavers County Championship matches this summer, starting with a blockbuster clash with champions Essex at Chelmsford.
If all goes well and the ECB management agree, Root’s seasonal debut for the White Rose would come against his former national colleague Sir Alastair Cook from Sunday April 19.
He would then feature in home games against Surrey and Kent at Emerald Headingley in late April and mid-May.
Coach Andrew Gale revealed the White Rose’s, and Root’s, hopes during this week’s fan’s forum at Headingley, hosted by and broadcast on BBC Radio Leeds.
And speaking further on the issue at Headingley yesterday, he said: “It’s ifs and buts at the moment. We’ve had positive communication with Rooty, and he needs to sit down with the ECB now. They might have some different ideas, but knowing Joe as I know him he likes to hit a lot of balls and is a rhythm batter.
“He doesn’t like a lot of time off, so hopefully we’ll have him for the five games I mentioned.
“It might be three games, it might be four or five. We’ll certainly have him for a decent chunk.
“Early season when you want to get out of the blocks well and batting conditions are at their toughest, to have his experience around would be fantastic.
“He loves playing for Yorkshire. It’s not just a means of him getting in touch for England, he wants to come and win games for a club he loves.”
Root will miss the opening game of 2020 against Gloucestershire at Headingley (April 12-15), which follows on quickly from England’s two-Test series in Sri Lanka.
He would then play in matches against Essex away, Surrey at home, Hampshire away, Kent at home and Northamptonshire away ahead of England’s international summer and immediately before four-day cricket makes way for the Vitality Blast at the end of May.
Root has not played as many as five Championship games in a season since 2012 when he played 14 times. He made his Test debut in India at the end of the year.
The club can confirm that Duanne Olivier will be remaining at Emerald Headingley beyond this year despite it likely being his last under the Kolpak status.
Britain’s departure from the EU is bringing about an abolishment of Kolpaks, with the ECB stating that any player under that umbrella will have his registration cancelled on December 31, as long as Brexit is formalised by October 31.
However, the Professional Cricketer’s Association are supporting the move from one to two overseas players per county, enabling such Kolpak players to continue playing county cricket.
South African Olivier signed a three-year deal with Yorkshire at the start of last year and part of that agreement was that he would automatically take up overseas status should this ruling on Kolpaks come into effect.
Yorkshire have passed on their best wishes to club legend Darren Lehmann, who is due to undergo heart bypass surgery in Brisbane tomorrow.
Australian Lehmann, widely regarded as the county’s greatest overseas player, won the Championship title in 2001 and also captained the White Rose.
Unfortunately, Lehmann reported chest pains on Wednesday – his 50th birthday – while on the Gold Coast watching his son Jake, also formerly of Yorkshire, play for Australia A against the England Lions.
‘Boof’ has just finished coaching Brisbane Heat in Australia’s Big Bash competition and is signed up to coach the Headingley based Northern Superchargers side in the ECB’s new Hundred competition this July and August.
“I would like to thank everyone in the Australian cricket family for their concern,” he said. “I am receiving the best of medical care and am confident I’ll be back on my feet soon.”
Yorkshire’s director of cricket Martyn Moxon said: “We are shocked by the news. Darren has been a great servant for the Yorkshire County Cricket Club down the years, and we wish him and his family well in the coming days and weeks.”