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An Over of News

— 7 February 2020

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.

  • It has been reported that former Yorkshire Championship-winning fast bowler Liam Plunkett is considering qualifying to play international cricket for the United States of America.

    Plunkett, 34-years-old, has not played for England since winning the World Cup against New Zealand at Lord’s last July, being overlooked for limited overs internationals in New Zealand and South Africa this winter.

    The Surrey bowler – he left Emerald Headingley at the end of 2018 having taken 185 wickets and scored 2,027 runs in all cricket for Yorkshire – is married to an American, Emeleah, and spends a lot of his time away from the game living in the States.

    Earlier this week, the Daily Mail reported that preliminary talks have taken place between Plunkett and USA Cricket, although the player’s first choice is to win his England place back.

    Should that not happen, Plunkett would complete a qualification period and become available to represent the Star Spangled Banner in July 2022.

    Plunkett has two years left on his Surrey contract and is also interested in becoming a strength and conditioning coach post his playing days.

    He tweeted in response to the story: “Surrey and England are my top priorities at this current time. I would like to help Surrey win trophies, and let’s see what the future holds going forwards.”

  • 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.”

  • Dawid Malan says the competitive battles between Yorkshire and Middlesex between 2014 and 2017 were part of the reason why he opted to move to Headingley this winter.

    The two counties went toe to toe in a number of ding dong County Championship battles during those four years, with Yorkshire winning two titles in 2014 and 2015 and Middlesex winning the Division One crown in 2016.

    Even though Middlesex chased down 472 to win the clash at Lord’s in early 2014, the most memorable battle came at the end of 2016 when both sides could win the title on the final day of the season at Lord’s, with Middlesex winning out in front of a fervent crowd at the Home of Cricket.

    Malan has recently signed a four-year contract with Yorkshire.

    The England batsman said: “That was one of the proudest days of my career, winning the title for Middlesex 10 years after I’d joined. There was a lot of hard work that went into that.

    “To do it against Yorkshire was special because we had some really good battles against them,

    “That’s what really strikes me about Yorkshire. Win or lose, they are always competitive and play the game in a positive way.”

    Fledgling duo Harry Duke and George Hill are coming back from national Under 19s duty with some silverware after England won the World Cup Plate Final against Sri Lanka on Monday.

    England finished as the best of those teams who failed to reach the knockout stages of a South African hosted competition which finishes on Sunday with an overall final between India and Bangladesh.

    Yorkshiremen Duke and Hill played two and four matches respectively through the competition, with Hill playing against Sri Lanka in Benoni – unfortunately posting a duck and going wicketless with the ball.

    Duke claimed two catches and a stumping in his two appearances, while Hill’s standout performances were 4-12 in a big win over Nigeria in the final group game once England had already been eliminated and then 90 in the Plate semi-final win over Zimbabwe.

    The pair will now return to Yorkshire duty and bid to push their claims for a maiden first-team appearance this summer.

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