Bresnan hits road in bid to spread his talent

TIM BRESNAN is set to make a 550-mile round trip during Yorkshire's County Championship match against Durham.

Bresnan will start the game at Chester-le-Street this morning as Yorkshire continue their title challenge.

The all-rounder will then travel to London to provide bowling cover for England ahead of Wednesday's third Test against Pakistan at the Oval.

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Assuming England suffer no injures, Bresnan will return north on Wednesday to finish the rest of the Championship match.

Under England and Wales Cricket Board regulations, Yorkshire are entitled to field a replacement while Bresnan is away.

They have named a 12-man squad for the fixture at the Emirates Durham International Cricket Ground, with pace bowler Oliver Hannon-Dalby listed 12th man.

Martyn Moxon, Yorkshire's director of professional cricket, admitted it was not ideal to lose Bresnan for part of the game.

But he insisted the player's value to the side is such there was no temptation to leave him out.

"It's not ideal to be chopping and changing things around once a match has started, but we think it's worth doing it in this case," said Moxon.

"With the form that Brezzy's in and his value to the team, it's better to have him for some of the match than for none of it.

"Depending on what happens with England, the plan is that he'll be back with us sometime on Wednesday afternoon.

"He'll probably miss a day-and-a-half."

Bresnan was selected to provide cover ahead of county team-mate Ajmal Shahzad, who seemed to have leapfrogged him in the England pecking order just a few weeks ago.

But a combination of injury and a lack of match practice have seen Bresnan once more inch in front.

"Ajmal has shaken off his injury problems but he's just striving for a little bit of form and rhythm at the moment," added Moxon.

"He's been a little bit short of match overs and, once he gets those, he'll be fine."

Today's game marks the beginning of the final quarter of Yorkshire's Championship programme.

They are third in the table – five points behind leaders Nottinghamshire, who have a game in hand – and have four Championship fixtures to play.

"We've just got to maintain our form and focus for another month and hopefully we can finish the season in style," said Moxon.

"We're still challenging in the Championship and the Clydesdale Bank 40 League and the opportunity is there in both competitions.

"It's very exciting, and we're just telling the players to take things in little steps.

"We're telling them to take it one ball at a time, one hour at a time, one session at a time – that's the message we're trying to preach."

Although Moxon's men are heavy on youth, he believes that could work in their favour.

"Having lots of young lads hasn't been a hindrance so far," he said.

"On the contrary, they appear to be thriving on the pressure. There's a great determination and desire within the group and that will stand us in good stead. I certainly don't see any signs of panic, fear or being overawed."

Yorkshire will need to be at their best to beat a Durham team directly behind them in Division One.

The champions reignited their hopes of a third successive title with a six-wicket win against Lancashire last week.

"It's probably not a good time to be playing them on the back of a very good victory at Old Trafford," admitted Moxon.

"They'll be full of confidence and we know they're a very strong team when they're at their best.

"They'll be fancying it now, there's no doubt about that, and that's going to make it harder for us.

"At the same time, we're fancying it as well, so it promises to be a fascinating game."

Yorkshire will be supervised at Chester-le-Street by first-team coach Craig White and batting coach Kevin Sharp, leaving Moxon free to run the rule over the second team, who play Durham at Headingley Carnegie, starting tomorrow.

Joe Sayers is set to turn out for the seconds as he continues his comeback from a virus, while Tino Best should also feature.

"Joe will hopefully play the four days but he's still not completely shaken off his illness," said Moxon.

"It's basically a virus that's exacerbated his asthma, and he's still having one or two tests done.

"It's hit him hard in the last few weeks, but hopefully he can get through the second team game and put himself back on the map. A fit and in-form Joe Sayers is something we'd definitely like up our sleeve."

Moxon also wants Best firing on all cylinders – particularly if Yorkshire are hit by international call-ups for next month's one-day series between England and Pakistan.

The West Indian has struggled as Yorkshire's overseas player.

"I don't think Tino's bowled quite as well in the last few weeks as he did at the start of the season," said Moxon.

"He's working on trying to improve his consistency and it's important for him to get plenty of match practice."