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Yorkshire go into Twenty20 battle minus York wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow
YORK ace Jonny Bairstow has been ruled out of Yorkshire’s Champions League t20 campaign in South Africa due to a wrist injury.
The England wicketkeeper-batsman has been playing through the pain during his country’s World Twenty20 campaign in Sri Lanka, and has been ordered to rest up ahead of next month’s tour of India.
It means that Dan Hodgson will be handed his Twenty20 debut in next Tuesday’s qualifying match against Uva Next at the Wanderers in Johannesburg, while Academy wicketkeeper Eddie Wilson will travel as back-up.
It is another blow to the county’s hopes of success after all-rounder Tim Bresnan was made unavailable by England right from the outset.
“England have pulled Jonny out because he has a wrist problem that needs resting and an injection,” confirmed captain Andrew Gale, whose 15-man squad flies to Johannesburg today.
“We were made aware at the end of last week that he had this problem which he has been playing through.
“To lose an international player from our squad is a blow, but it gives Dan Hodgson an opportunity. “Dan hasn’t played any Twenty20 cricket for us. From what I saw of him towards the end of the season, he did well with the gloves. I haven’t seen too much of his batting – only in the nets – but he’s done okay with the second team.
“He’s got big boots to fill in Jonny Bairstow, but we can learn a lot about him.
“To go and prove yourself in the Champions League is a big ask for a lad who has not got much experience.”
Meanwhile, Gale has confirmed that Yorkshire are close to completing the signing of Liam Plunkett from Durham.
The 27-year-old fast bowler has been given permission to speak to other counties despite having one year to run of his contract at the Riverside.
“I think the club are very close to making an announcement on him, although it’s not a done deal yet,” said the left-handed batsman, who is confident his former England Lions team-mate can put a frustrating two years behind him.
“I know Liam really well having toured with him a few times. He’s got stacks of ability. Things haven’t worked out for him over the last few years at Durham, but you don’t play Test cricket for England and be a bad cricketer.
“In my eyes it’s a role that we’ve struggled with over the last few years since Bresnan’s been in the England side, that all-round spot batting at seven and eight. Liam Plunkett fits the bill.
“With a fresh start and working alongside Jason Gillespie, I’m confident we can get the best out of him.”
Plunkett has only played three LV= County Championship matches in the last two years for Durham. Of his five wickets, three came against Yorkshire at Headingley in April of last year.
He is expected to sign a long-term deal, and will link up with fellow seamer Jack Brooks, who signed from Northamptonshire last week.
Yorkshire yesterday announced a new membership scheme called Club Yorkshire, aimed at individual members and league clubs in the county. For more details visit www.yorkshireccc.com