YORKSHIRE'S Liam Plunkett is close to a return from his groin injury.

Plunkett has started bowling again, having missed the Vikings' first four NatWest T20 Blast matches.

Coach Andrew Gale is unsure whether the England quick will be ready for weekend home matches against Birmingham on Friday and Worcestershire on Sunday.

Yet he is happy that 32-year-old Plunkett is "heading in the right direction" and a meeting with his former county Durham a week on Wednesday at Headingley may be more realistic.

Gale said: "He bowled a little bit on Thursday or Friday, just some light trundle. He's heading in the right direction but for next week it might be touch and go.

"We've got to bear the Championship in mind as well, how many overs he gets in before that (August 6 against Essex)."

Plunkett is confident he can help Yorkshire claim their maiden Blast title this summer.

He said: "It wasn't too bad, just a grade one (tear). It's always frustrating to be injured, especially when you miss the start of the T20 stuff. I want to be playing and with the squad we've got, I want to be a part of that.

"We were close last year at Finals Day and I feel like we've got the squad and the team to do well in that and win a trophy."

Yorkshire have claimed four points from their opening four Blast matches, gaining a point from their dramatic rain-affected tie against Lancashire at Emirates Old Trafford on Friday when they were 64-2 after 8.1 overs chasing 177 when the weather intervened.

Plunkett may have endured frustrations while on county duty this year, with calf and groin injuries limiting his appearances. But he has managed to star for England with the white ball, especially in one-day cricket.

His tally of 28 wickets from 13 matches in 2017 is the third-best by any bowler in the world.

Plunkett's form has given him confidence that he can force his way back into England's Test team, having played the last of his 13 Tests three years ago.

"The last couple of years, I feel like I'm a main part of that (one-day) squad now," he said.

"You always feel like you're close to teams and stuff but now I feel like I should be in that 11, which is one of the first times I can say that.

"I feel like I have worked my way in there and have performed consistently. I'd love to say the same about Test cricket but I'm a little bit off that.

"I still want to play and I feel like I'm at my best now. I can be consistent with the white ball, so why not the red ball as well?"

Meanwhile, reports suggest Yorkshire have agreed a deal to sign Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed as a short-term overseas replacement for Peter Handscomb in the T20 Blast.

Handscomb is scheduled to leave Yorkshire in early August to play two Tests for Australia in Bangladesh later in the month.

But the 26-year-old could yet remain at Headingley if the contractual dispute between Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers' Association is not resolved.

With Shaun Marsh already in situ, there would then be no need to sign anyone else.