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Yorkshire bowler Moin Ashraf hoping for repeat of t20 vision
11:17am Saturday 16th March 2013 in Sport
Twenty20 success in Barbados a year ago laid the platform for Yorkshire to shine against the white and red ball last summer, and they are aiming for a repeat this weekend.
The White Rose county, now known as the Vikings in limited overs cricket, start their defence of an inter-counties competition across two days with a repeat of last August’s Friends Life t20 final against Hampshire today.
Yorkshire may have lost out in that domestic final at Cardiff, but even reaching Finals Day exceeded expectations of many supporters having disappointed since the format’s inception in 2003.
They also went on to clinch promotion to the LV= County Championship’s division one as part of a memorable first season in charge for coach Jason Gillespie.
Fast bowler Moin Ashraf was one of the stars of the county’s Twenty20 campaigns with 17 wickets from his first 16 matches in that format, including at the Champions League in South Africa.
He said: “We won it in Barbados last year, and we want to win it again. We set high standards to follow last year, so hopefully we can achieve those standards again.
“I think everyone bought into the plans that the coaches put in place. We all believed in what we were doing. That carried on into the season. We are very optimistic again.”
Ashraf had to settle for limited first-team action during the first half of last summer, but making a name for himself in Twenty20 with his accurate yorkers helped him to secure his place for the last eight matches of the Championship campaign.
Since he took five wickets in the promotion-clinching win against Essex at Chelmsford in September, Yorkshire’s management have added Liam Plunkett and Jack Brooks to the fast bowling department.
And Ashraf knows he faces a tough task to retain his place for next month’s opener against Sussex at Headingley.
“I wanted to make my debut in Twenty20 last summer, that was one of my aims going into the season. I achieved that aim, but went beyond my expectations. I was very happy,” he said.
“I set optimistic yet humble targets, and I look to achieve them. Although I didn’t play too much first-team cricket in the first half of the season, I was able to earn a place and kick on in the second half.
“I know it’s going to be difficult with the quality of bowlers we’ve got in the squad.
“We’ve got so much talent. But I’m ready for the challenge. That’s my aim this year, to get into the Championship team and do well.
“I want to build on what I did last year and have another good one-day season.
“I want to play as many games as I can for Yorkshire County Cricket Club.”
A tour opening two-day intra-squad match finished in a draw at the Carlton club on Thursday, with a Phil Jaques century the stand-out performance as Adam Lyth and Azeem Rafiq captained the teams.
Plunkett scored 69 for Rafiq’s XI, who made 268-5 declared. Adil Rashid and Dan Hodgson then retired not out on 75 and 67 respectively as Lyth’s XI replied with 296-6. Left-arm spinner Gurman Randhawa took three wickets.
There will be a Twenty20 Finals Day at the Kensington Oval in Barbados tomorrow.