YORKSHIRE captain Andrew Gale will miss tomorrow’s three-day Universities friendly against Leeds/Bradford as he battles to be fit for the start of the LV= County Championship a week on Sunday.
Gale has not fully recovered from the hip injury which forced him to return home early from a winter of grade cricket Australia in early February.
But the 30-year-old is almost certain he will be fit for the first Championship match against Somerset at Taunton, and is hopeful of playing in next week’s three-day friendly at Northamptonshire.
England Test batsman Gary Ballance is expected to captain Yorkshire this week in Gale’s absence.
"It's been a little bit slower than I thought,” said Gale of his recovery. “I was hoping to get a game in Sri Lanka, but it's been slow progress.
"I won't play against the Universities, but fingers crossed for the week after. The main thing is, I'm 95 per cent sure I will be fit for the first game of the season.
"It's been frustrating because when it initially happened, we thought it would be a two or three-week injury. Now we're three months down the line and I'm still in a little bit of pain. I am coming on.
"I mapped my winter out as I wanted it - going to Australia, coming back, going to Sri Lanka and playing the Universities game. It was meant to be a nice progression, but these things happen. That's sport. I'm old enough to deal with that as long as I play in the first game of the season.
“Northampton is realistic. It just all depends on how I get on this week, though.”
Meanwhile, Yorkshire chairman Colin Graves told members at the club’s Annual General Meeting on Saturday that Headingley is likely to host an Ashes Test match in 2019, the last year of the club’s current international staging agreement with the ECB.
The county have not hosted an Ashes Test since 2009, but Graves, who also confirmed Yorkshire’s intention to host World Cup matches in the same summer, admitted: “As it stands today, we will be getting an Ashes Test match in 2019.”
Dickie Bird’s nomination as Yorkshire’s new president on a one-year term was unanimously voted in by the members, as was former York Press Yorkshire cricket correspondent David Warner’s appointment as a vice president of the club.
New second XI coach Richard Dawson starts work with the club today.