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Bairstow set to open the batting during his T20 appearances

— 7 June 2021

Jonny Bairstow will open the batting in his five Vitality Blast appearances for Yorkshire, starting this Thursday at Emerald Headingley.

The England star is available as the Vikings begin their North Group campaign against Birmingham Bears, alongside Dawid Malan and Adil Rashid.

Coach Andrew Gale has opted to break up the regular opening partnership between Adam Lyth and Tom Kohler-Cadmore, with the latter moving down to bat at number four.

New Zealand fast bowler Lockie Ferguson is also set to make his Blast debut against the Bears on Thursday evening (6.30pm).

And Gale is hopeful his overseas signing will be available beyond the group stages should the Vikings secure a top four finish in the North Group.

“Jonny is going to open the batting with Lythy, and Tom will bat four,” confirmed the coach, who will have Bairstow, Malan and Rashid available up until until June 18.

“Jonny will also keep for the first five games, then it will be between Tatts and Dukey after that.

“We’ll have Rash and Jonny for five games, and it depends with Mala on whether he gets picked in the one-dayers later on.

“We could also have Joe Root back for a bit.

“I sort of envisage in an ideal world that we’ll either have Mala or Rooty, who sort of play the same role in the side, available at various stages.

“We may even have them for a game or two together, I don’t know.

On Ferguson, Gale said: “Lockie is here and has been bowling with us for a couple of days.

“I think he’s potentially going to get a Hundred gig somewhere. I think there’s a team after him. With that, there might be the option to keep him on after that.”

All the internationals available to Gale and captain David Willey ensures it will be an exciting start to Yorkshire’s bid for a maiden Blast title.

“I’d be disappointed with the calibre of players we have at our disposal for the first five games if we don’t hit the ground running,” said Gale.

“But, I guess, a key part of the competition will come when they go and some of our own lads step up and take their place.

“We have a good side. I thought we played some good cricket last year up to the last four games when we were undone by Covid.

“Hopefully we can hit the ground running and get some confidence in that format.”

It remains to be seen exactly when Dom Bess will be available having been recalled to England’s squad for the second Test against New Zealand at Edgbaston from Thursday.

But one player who will definitely not face the Bears is fast bowler Matthew Fisher, whose recovery from an abdominal injury is making strides in the right direction.

Gale added: “Fish is going to play some second-team T20s this week.

“It would be harsh on him to throw him straight in there without any second-team cricket given his injury track record.

“He will play three T20s in the seconds and we’ll see where he’s at.”

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