THERE were great celebrations when Yorkshire’s Rich Pyrah dismissed Derbyshire’s Gareth Cross during the NatWest T20 Blast match at Chesterfield last Sunday.
Pyrah had Cross caught at deep mid-wicket by Kane Williamson after a sparkling innings of 37 from 19 balls with four fours and three sixes.
But what many in the Queen’s Park crowd would not have known is that Pyrah and his team-mates were not simply celebrating his dismissal of a man who briefly threatened to take Derbyshire to a daunting target of 184.
They were also celebrating a major milestone for Pyrah.
For with that wicket, which proved significant as Yorkshire romped to a 59-run win, Pyrah became only the fourth man to take 100 wickets in English domestic T20.
The medium-pacer joined Sussex paceman Yasir Arafat (135), Surrey all-rounder Azhar Mahmood (128) and Somerset pace bowler Alfonso Thomas (101) on the three-figure mark, with all figures correct at the time of Pyrah’s performance.
Pyrah brought up the landmark in his 93rd match, which he finished with a career average of 20.12, an economy rate of 7.34 runs per over and a strike-rate of a wicket every 16 balls.
He also became the first Englishman to reach three-figures, narrowly pipping Nottinghamshire’s Leicester-born all-rounder Samit Patel, who was fifth on the list with 97.
Pyrah’s century of wickets should not go unnoticed, even if the man himself sometimes does.
One of the quiet men of Yorkshire cricket, and one of the nicest, too, he is not one of the leading lights in a star-studded dressing room.
But his value to the team cannot be overstated.
In his own unassuming way, Pyrah contributes a great deal – particularly in T20 and one-day cricket.
As well as his skill with the ball, Pyrah is a more-than-useful batsman and magnificent fielder.
One has lost count of the number of brilliant stops and athletic catches that have long been a feature of his game in all formats.
Ultimately, though, the thing that stands out about Pyrah is his selflessness, his professionalism and his status as the definition of “a team man”.
For while others may take the limelight, Pyrah just gets on with his job in diligent fashion, never moping about if he is left out of the team and never giving less than 100 per cent whenever he is selected.
Pyrah, who boasts Yorkshire’s best T20 figures of 5-16 against Durham at Scarborough in 2011, could end with upwards of 150 T20 wickets.
At 31, he still has plenty of gas in the tank and his athleticism should allow him to continue for a few years yet.
Ideally, he would love to add significantly to a tally of 46 first-class appearances over a 10-year period; Pyrah, indeed, made his debut against Glamorgan and Simon Jones at Colwyn Bay 10 years ago next month.
In the meantime, let us salute a man whose value to the county’s one-day effort speaks for itself, and who is one of cricket’s most deserving figures.