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Tykes t20 prospects looking good – Jason Gillespie
Yorkshire have all their bases covered for the forthcoming Friends Life t20 campaign, according to first-team coach Jason Gillespie.
The Australian is in confident mood as he looks to buck a worrying trend for the Headingley side, who have only made it beyond the group stages twice in nine years and never beyond the quarter-finals.
On paper, Gillespie leads a strong squad with young guns such as Gary Ballance, Mitchell Starc, David Miller and Azeem Rafiq supplemented by the experience of skipper Andrew Gale, Phil Jaques, Anthony McGrath, Rich Pyrah and Ryan Sidebottom, a World Twenty20 winner in 2010.
But, as we all know, cricket is not played on paper.
Although Yorkshire have struggled for consistency in 40-over cricket this summer, the signs are there for a successful Twenty20 campaign after they brought home Twenty20 silverware from their pre-season tour of Barbados in March.
Even without the services of star man York-based Jonny Bairstow, their top order looks powerful as Miller and Ballance are two most capable of clearing the ropes with regularity, although Jaques has the best strike rate in the squad.
A return to form for leg-spinner Adil Rashid could not come at a better time, especially seeing as spinners have had such an impact in domestic Twenty20 in recent years, while Pyrah’s return to fitness after a broken hand is also welcome.
The signs are that Australian left-arm quick Starc will also be available for the majority of the group stages.
“I’m very excited,” said Gillespie, who played 21 times in this form of the game before retiring in 2008.
“We’ve put together a strong squad which covers all bases, one that we believe can do a really good job and make a strong challenge.
“It basically comes down to the belief of the players and nailing our game-plans.
“When we do that, we’ll put ourselves into positions to win games of cricket.”
The signing of former Durham man Miller as their second overseas player last week gives you the biggest indication that Yorkshire are determined to make up for their poor performances in Twenty20 as quickly as possible.
Miller only scored one 50 during his time with the North East county last year, ironically against Yorkshire in a losing cause at Scarborough.
And the left-hander is not even a regular in the South African limited overs set-up.
But the White Rose are willing to take a punt on a player who could well be the difference between success and failure if he builds on the encouraging form he showed in the Indian Premier League recently for the Kings XI Punjab.
Gillespie, whose side have a warm-up match against Bradford League club Cleckheaton tonight, added: “David gives it a whack and can clear the ropes, which we felt was something we could utilise.
“He’s a great lad who will fit into our dressing room very well.
“His work ethic is top notch. He fits the bill for us perfectly, and it’s very exciting that he’s agreed to come and play for Yorkshire.”