TIM BRESNAN will spearhead Yorkshire’s attempt to get their NatWest T20 Blast campaign off the ground against Birmingham Bears at Edgbaston this evening.
England have released the pace bowler from one-day international duty after he was left out of the opening match of the series against Sri Lanka at The Oval.
Bresnan will return to the England set-up tomorrow ahead of the second ODI at Chester-le-Street on Sunday.
Neither he nor fellow Yorkshire and England players Joe Root and Gary Ballance are available for the County Championship game against Lancashire at Headingley starting on Sunday.
Bresnan was one of the few shining lights as Yorkshire lost their opening T20 match against Northamptonshire last Friday.
He scored 34 not out from 21 balls to help Yorkshire to a competitive 162-7.
The 29-year-old shared in a club record T20 seventh-wicket stand of 64 in 38 balls with Liam Plunkett, who top-scored with 36 as Yorkshire recovered from 87-6.
Bresnan was less successful with the ball, returning 0-34 from four overs as the cup holders chased down their target with one ball to spare.
Yorkshire go into today’s game (6.30pm start) in better spirits after winning a hat-trick of T20 practice matches against local opposition.
On Monday they beat a Yorkshire League Select XI at Sheffield’s Abbeydale Park by four wickets with five balls to spare, Adam Lyth contributing an unbeaten 54.
On Tuesday they beat Harrogate CC by 80 runs at St George’s Road, Andrew Hodd blasting 62 and Rich Pyrah taking 4-22.
Then on Wednesday they beat a York League Select XI by 118 runs at Clifton Park, Kane Williamson blazing 95 and Jonny Bairstow 45 not out in a match staged as part of Bresnan’s benefit year.
Jason Gillespie, the Yorkshire first-team coach, believes the fixtures were ideal preparation for this evening’s contest.
“We couldn’t have had better preparation in terms of the matches themselves and the weather,” he said.
“We selected strong squads for each game and were tested in all areas, and the matches have certainly helped us hone our T20 skills.
“It has been a fantastic initiative to play around the county against some quality league players, and I would like to thank each respective club for hosting us and giving us the opportunity.”
Gillespie is confident his side will bounce back today in a match being shown live on television.
He has named a 14-man squad that includes top-order batsman Jack Leaning, off-spinner Azeem Rafiq and young all-rounder Oliver Robinson.
“It was disappointing to lose against Northamptonshire last week and I know the players will respond,” said Gillespie.
“Northamptonshire are a good outfit and you could see why they are champions, but we just need to improve and build some momentum.
“We also want to put in a good performance in front of the cameras.
“I’m confident we can go out there and put on a show.”
There will be a minute’s silence for former Yorkshire and England batsman Phil Sharpe ahead of Sunday’s Roses match.
The players will also wear black armbands as a mark of respect to Sharpe, who died last Monday, aged 77.
As well as playing for important Championship points, Yorkshire and Lancashire will compete for the Duke of Leeds Cup contested in Roses matches.
The cup is on long-term loan to Yorkshire from the Yorkshire Regiment, who will be hosted at Headingley on the opening day.
Yorkshire squad for tonight’s match: Bairstow, Bresnan, Brooks, Gale (captain), Hodd, Leaning, Lyth, Plunkett, Pyrah, Rafiq, Rashid, Robinson, Sidebottom, Williamson.