Hodd hopeful Headingley crowd can give Yorkshire lift

YORKSHIRE are hoping the Headingley crowd can act as their 12th man and help kickstart their Twenty20 Cup campaign.

Andrew Hodd

Today’s game against Lancashire (5.40pm start) is a 15,000 sell-out – the first in Twenty20 cricket at Headingley since the corresponding match in 2004.

After defeats in their opening two games against Derbyshire and Durham, Yorkshire can ill-afford to lose this fixture.

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Only one team (Essex) qualified for last season’s quarter-finals despite losing more than three matches and the situation is similarly urgent for Lancashire, who have lost two of their opening three games.

Andrew Hodd, the Yorkshire wicketkeeper/batsman, believes the crowd can inspire Yorkshire.

“I’ve heard a lot about the crowd at Headingley for these sorts of matches and hopefully they can be the 12th man,” said Hodd, who is set to make his first Roses appearance. “I’m never going to play for England, and this is as close as I’ll get (in terms of atmosphere).

“The thing I want to do is play in front of big crowds.

“I reckon this is the biggest game on the circuit unless you reach Finals Day.”

Yorkshire, who made it to Finals Day last year en route to finishing runners-up, have been slow out of the blocks this time.

Their batting has been inconsistent, while their fielding – so often a strong suit – let them down in the form of dropped catches against Durham on Sunday.

It is still early days, of course, and with eight group games to go there is still plenty of time for Yorkshire to get on the sort of roll they experienced last year.

They have a good Twenty20 record against their arch rivals at Leeds, having won six of the nine meetings – including a 19-run victory last summer.

“Hopefully, a Roses derby will bring the best out of the boys,” added Hodd.

“Hopefully the crowd will get behind us and the boys will forget about the technical and tactical issues and just go out and enjoy it; that’s the way this game should be played. It only takes one game to turn it around.

“It’s such a confidence game that one (win) turns into two and, all of a sudden, you’re on a roll and into the quarter-finals.”

Yorkshire are set to be boosted by the return of batsman Phil Jaques, who has been out for nearly a month with an abdominal strain. Jaques was Yorkshire’s second-highest run-scorer in last year’s tournament with 263 in 12 appearances; only South African overseas star David Miller (390 from 12 starts) made more.

Yorkshire (from): Ballance, Brooks, Gale (captain), Hodd, Hodgson, Jaques, Lyth, Plunkett, Pyrah, Rafiq, Rashid, Sayers, Sidebottom, Wardlaw.