Loss of Dawid Malan offset by return of Joe Root, says Yorkshire CCC captain Steve Patterson

YORKSHIRE captain Steve Patterson admits the loss of England batsman Dawid Malan for the start of the 2021 season leaves a noticeable hole in the line-up.

But when that gap can be plugged – at least for a short time – by the return of England Test captain Joe Root there is much for Patterson and his team to be thankful for. Yorkshire have lost Malan – who last season was their leading run-scorer in the Bob Willis Trophy with 332 runs at an average of 66 – for up to the first eight games of the 14-match County Championship programme due to his involvement with Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League.

By contrast, Root, having enjoyed generally excellent form with the bat during the winter in Sri Lanka and then India, is available for at least the first two four-day games – the first of which sees Yorkshire start their campaign tomorrow at Headingley against Glamorgan.

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Root could even be available to play more games before he heads back to England duty in time for when they take on New Zealand in early June.

FORM GUY: Joe Root drives through the covers during the recent Test series against India. Picture courtesy of Pankaj Nangia/ Sportzpics for BCCI (via ECB).

And as far as veteran pace bowler Patterson is concerned, any time the Sheffield-born right-hander can turn out for his county, is something to be welcomed.

“We signed Dawid for a reason ahead of last season,” said Patterson of a player who had to wait nine months to make his Yorkshire debut after signing from Middlesex the previous winter.

“We felt we were one experienced senior batsman short and he really fitted that bill, in the sense that he plays all three formats to a very high standard.

“He came in and did very well last year and it is obviously a shame for us that we’re not going to have him in the team at the start of the summer. Obviously, we’re delighted for him to get picked up in the IPL for the first time and it will be great to see him do well over there.

MISSING IN ACTION: Yorkshire's Dawid Malan will be away playing in the IPL and could miss the first eight County Championship games. Picture: AP/Ajit Solanki.

“But, on the flip side of that, we’ve got Joe Root available for a couple of games at the start of the season and then possibly, a couple more games before he goes away with England.

“So while we’re gutted to be missing somebody with Dawid’s quality and experience, when you can replace him for some of that time with the England captain, well, we’re not too hard done to in that department, are we?

“And, as we all know, it’s obviously always a delight when you can get somebody as good as Joe coming back to play.”

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Yorkshire's Steve Patterson prepares to bowl during the pre-season match at The Incora County Ground, Derby. Picture: Zac Goodwin/PA