YORKSHIRE have named an 18-man squad for their pre-season tour to the United Arab Emirates.
The club head out on Friday week for a 13-day trip that will include the prestigious Champion County match against MCC, the traditional curtain-raiser to the English season.
Yorkshire won the corresponding fixture last year by nine wickets before successfully defending their Championship crown. In addition to that four-day match at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, beginning on March 20, Yorkshire will also be looking to retain the Emirates Airline T20 Cup.
The four-team tournament, which they won last year by beating Lancashire and Sussex, takes place in Dubai on March 18.
Yorkshire take on MCC in the second semi-final this year, with the UAE national side hosting Lancashire in the other semi-final. Yorkshire also face Lancashire in a two-day game in Dubai starting on March 14, and Leicestershire in a T20 warm-up in Dubai on March 17.
Yorkshire will be without England quartet Joe Root, Adil Rashid, Liam Plunkett and David Willey, who are representing England in the ICC World T20.
England Test wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow is also being rested following his recent hectic commitments in South Africa.
All-rounder Matthew Waite and Academy wicketkeeper Jonathan Read will be touring for the first time with the Yorkshire senior squad.
For first-team coach Jason Gillespie and his players, the tour promises to be another perfect run-in to the English season, which starts properly on April 11 when Yorkshire host Leeds Bradford MCCU in a three-day fixture at Headingley.
“We are excited and looking forward to returning to the Emirates for our pre-season tour,” said Gillespie, the former Australia fast bowler.
“Despite some of our international players being away with England, and Jonny Bairstow being rested after an intense winter with the national side, we are taking a strong squad to the UAE with a great mix of young guys coming through alongside the established senior players.
“After spending most of the winter in the indoor facilities at Headingley, the lads are ready to get some sun on their backs and play and train in some of the best facilities in the world.
“With a good spread of cricket across all formats, the tour will be ideal preparation for us going into a busy English summer.”
Yorkshire touring party: Ballance, Brooks, Bresnan, Carver, Coad, Fisher, Gale, Gibson, Hodd, Leaning, Lees, Lyth, Patterson, Read, Rhodes, Sidebottom, Wainman, Waite.
Derbyshire have announced the signing of New Zealand all-rounder James Neesham for their NatWest T20 Blast campaign.