Lehmann was key to Maxwell signing for Yorkshire

Yorkshire's Aaron Finch on the attack
Yorkshire's Aaron Finch on the attack
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By signing two of the most exciting players in world cricket, Yorkshire have shown they have no intention of resting on their laurels.

The 2014 LV County Champions are hungry for more success, and a mere defence of the title they won last year, is not enough.

The elusive Twenty20 honour is one coveted greatly by all at Headingley, and adding the firepower of the calibre of Aaron Finch and Glenn Maxwell underpins their ambition.

For their part, the explosive Australians have bought into Yorkshire’s desire; firstly Finch last year, and now Maxwell as well in 2015.

“I’m pumped and can’t wait to play for Yorkshire in the T20 Blast competition,” said Maxwell, a revelation in the Big Bash with Perth All Stars, and no stranger to the game in the northern hemisphere after playing for Hampshire, twice, and Surrey over the last three summers.

“Yorkshire are one of biggest clubs in the world and to get the chance to play for them is an honour.

“I had two great spells with Hampshire and loved every minute, but heading to Yorkshire gives me a new challenge that I will relish.”

Yorkshire’s Australian connection – past and present – clearly had a large part to play in Maxwell’s decision to head north after the IPL in May and help Yorkshire in the T20 Blast.

First-team coach Jason Gillespie was the one who reached out to the 26-year-old right-hander, but it was the counsel of Finch and former Yorkshire stalwart Darren Lehmann, that nudged him over the line.

“I’ve had a couple of long discussions with Finchy and Boof (Lehmann, Cricket Australia’s coach) about Headingley and they can’t speak highly enough of the place,” said Maxwell.

“Under Dizzy (Jason Gillespie) they are doing really well and to lift the title last year was a fantastic achievement. They haven’t had much luck in the T20 tournament during the last couple of years, but with me and Finchy (Aaron Finch) coming in, we hope we can change that and help the club reach their potential like they did in 2012, when they reached finals day.

“Yorkshire is heading in the right direction. I’m looking forward to getting over later in the year and making a positive contribution.”

Finch was the world’s No 1 batsman when he signed for Yorkshire last year.

He played 10 games in the T20 Blast, achieving a high score of 89 and an average of 25.60.

The 28-year-old found his best form in the longer format of the game, averaging 48.50 runs from six innings in five matches, including scoring a century against Warwickshire at Edgbaston.

In 2015, he will play in all three competitions, arriving after his commitments in the IPL.

Finch, who will join Maxwell in the Australian squad for next month’s World Cup, said: “It is great to be heading back to Yorkshire.

“I enjoyed my time with the club last year and made some lifelong friendships.

“Yorkshire is a great club, one of the best around and the way they play the game is very positive.

“To have made a contribution to their success of winning the title was really good. I relished the challenge of playing the County Championship against the moving red ball. It has certainly enhanced my game.

“This year, the club will be aiming to win the title again and having spoken to Martyn Moxon (director of professional cricket) and Dizzy (Gillespie) there is a major emphasis on doing well in the T20 competition.

“There were signs last year that when we get it right, we are a difficult side to beat. With more application and an improvement in how we approach the game, we can make a concerted effort in challenging for honours.

“Having Maxi (Glen Maxwell) playing alongside me will be terrific. He is a true competitor and loves the shorter form of the game.

“He is motivated to be playing his cricket at Headingley and making a difference to the passionate Yorkshire supporters.”

Yorkshire are hoping these two Australians can be the difference-makers in the shortest format. Gillespie said: “This is going to be a huge season for us and, hopefully, that shows by our preparations.”

NatWest T20 Blast Season Tickets (seven home matches for £70 from May 15 to July 24) are available now at www.yorkshireccc.com