By Graham Hardcastle
Yorkshire’s hopes of emerging from a “topsy-turvy” Vitality Blast North Group remain high, although Martyn Moxon admits they have to improve.
Those quarter-final qualification hopes have been dented by back-to-back defeats against Lancashire and Nottinghamshire late last week.
They have dropped out of the all important top four places ahead of their final two group games, against Northamptonshire at Wantage Road and Notts at Emerald Headingley on Thursday and Friday.
Yorkshire may advance with one win from two as long as that comes against a Notts side who are currently two points ahead in fourth. But they are aiming for two to avoid dreaded net run-rate calculations.
Director of cricket Moxon has bemoaned their off-colour bowling in those aforementioned defeats and has called for consistency – a long-standing issue.
He said: “T20 is a game of fine lines, but we’ve got to find a way of being more consistent.
“When we’re good, we’re very good. But the last couple of games we haven’t bowled well enough.
“Fourteen games is a lot, and we’ve seen throughout that most teams are beating each other. It’s been a very topsy-turvy group campaign.
“Durham and Worcester have been the standouts, but they’ve both lost games in recent days.
“Northants haven’t had the competition they’d like, but they have some very dangerous players.
“The good thing is that we have a bit of time off and can regroup and practice well ahead of two big games.”
Yorkshire begin the week with a number of injury concerns.
Captain Steve Patterson is expected to be out for the next four to five weeks with a broken left forefinger, while Kane Williamson is due for an x-ray on his left ring finger having suffered a knock whilst taking a catch against Notts on Friday.
Seamers Liam Plunkett and Ben Coad are also set for significant spells on the sidelines with hip and side problems.
There has been some good news, however, on the contractual front, with all-rounder Tim Bresnan signing a new two-year contract last week to keep him at Headingley.
“We know Brez’s quality in all three formats,” said Moxon. “He’s an experienced campaigner.
“As I said in the media release, it’s important he helps us develop the young players of the future as well as helping us win trophies now.
“We need a balance of youth and experience within the team, and his signature is a massive boost for us.
“It hasn’t quite happened for him in the last few T20 games, but he will bounce back. That’s his character.”
It is the time of year when contracts for 2019 and beyond start to get sorted, with Yorkshire only recently releasing England limited overs fast bowler Plunkett to Surrey, with a big reason being his lack of availability.
Therefore, Bresnan’s continued availability is a big plus.
Moxon has also offered a positive update on Adil Rashid’s future with the county.
He added: “Going forward, with the budget we have, it’s pretty obvious that we can’t afford to have all of the three lads we’ve got in Dave (Willey), Liam and Adil as we try and make ourselves as competitive as possible.
“It’s hard to cater for three lads whose availability is affected by England commitments.
“With Rash, we’re trying to work together to get a solution.
“At the moment, he’s concentrating on the Test Matches. That’s why things haven’t been progressed, because we’re leaving him alone to focus on playing.
“But there’s a will from all parties to try and sort something out, that’s for sure.”