Gale looking for players to step up

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cricket: Progress in both one-day competitions may be over for Yorkshire Vikings this season, but captain Andrew Gale insists there is still plenty for his players to prove, writes Phil Harrison.

While the White Rose county are leading the chase for the County Championship Division One title – 10 points clear with five games remaining – it has all gone slightly wrong in both one-day formats.

After last year’s Twenty20 heroics saw Yorkshire reach the Champions League in South Africa, this season saw them eliminated after finishing bottom of the North Group.

Things have not fared much better in the Yorkshire Bank 40 with the team second-from-bottom in the table as they head into their last four games, starting at fellow strugglers Leicestershire Foxes tomorrow.

It’s been clear from an early stage of the season that the priority for Yorkshire, not surprisingly, has been the Championship – with there clearly being no better way of celebrating their 150th year.

As a result the need to rest their frontline bowlers to keep them fresh for the four-day competition has often seen Yorkshire field under-strength teams, particularly in the 40-over game.

“The championship is the main goal,” said Gale, whose side don’t return to four-day action until August 21 against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge August 21.

“Our form hasn’t been great in one-day cricket and we need one or two lads to prove to us that they can be good enough for the future of this club. The Leicestershire result definitely matters because we don’t want to finish bottom of this group.

“We finished bottom of the T20 group and that was disappointing for us compared to where we were at last year.

“I want to see us win all our remaining games.”

Yorkshire yesterday warmed up for tomorrow’s trip to Grace Road with a seven-run win over Bangladesh at Headingley in a 50-over friendly.

Liam Plunkett top-scored for the home side with 47 not out as they were bowled out for198 with 14 balls of their allotted overs left.

The tourists responded well and, just before the halfway stage, were cruising at 116-2.

But Azeem Rafiq struck with a career-best 5-30 from his 10 overs to swing the game in Yorkshire’s favour, Plunkett taking the final wicket of Raqibul Hasan with the tourists still having over five overs remaining.