Signing of Nicholas Pooran offers Yorkshire chance to end long wait for T20 silverware

YORKSHIRE believe Nicholas Pooran can kickstart their attempt to win their first T20 trophy.

NEW FACE: West Indies Nicholas Pooran has signed up for the first five games of Yorkshire's T20 Blast campaign. Picture: Michael Steele/Getty Images
NEW FACE: West Indies Nicholas Pooran has signed up for the first five games of Yorkshire's T20 Blast campaign. Picture: Michael Steele/Getty Images

The club have signed the West Indies batsman for the first five games of this summer’s Blast.

The 23-year-old is staying behind after the World Cup and will debut in Yorkshire’s opening match against Notts at Headingley on July 19.

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He will also play in the away games at Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Northants plus the home tie with Lancashire before rejoining West Indies for a home T20 series with India. Pooran can also keep wicket and thus take the pressure off Jonny Tattersall.

Yorkshire may look to give Tattersall a break although he is one of their best one-day batsmen.

Pooran’s signing comes 24 hours after Yorkshire signed South African left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj for their next three County Championship matches.

Maharaj’s recruitment drew a mixed response on the club’s Twitter feed.

Pooran’s capture is an attempt to improve one of the country’s worst T20 records. Yorkshire have only twice reached Finals Day in the 16 seasons since the tournament’s inception, losing to Hampshire in the 2012 final and to Durham in the 2016 semi, and the Blast probably represents their last chance of silverware this year.

However, fourth-placed Yorkshire are only 34 points behind Championship leaders Somerset, who they still have to play twice.

Pooran has had a steady World Cup so far – his highest score is 63 from 78 balls against England at Southampton.

The Trinidad-born left-hander has a strike-rate of 140-plus in the T20 format and he top-scored in a T10 competition in the UAE before Christmas.

“I’m a really aggressive player, I strive to be exciting and I like to entertain the fans,” he said.

“It will be a new and exciting experience for me, and I just want to continue the good work I’ve been doing and learn from the experience.”

Yorkshire have nine further T20 group games after Pooran’s exit, with clubs playing seven games at home and away. It is unclear at this stage whether they would seek to replace him when he returns to the West Indies.

Martyn Moxon, the Yorkshire director of cricket, is delighted to have the youngster on board.

“He’s an excellent young talent and has done particularly well in T20 cricket, and although he is only available for a short period, we hope it will give us early impetus in the competition,” he said. “It also gives us flexibility to see how Jonny Tattersall is travelling, having played every game this season.

“Jonny has now got three back-to-back Championship fixtures and only a couple of days between the end of the Somerset match and the start of the T20s; it gives us the option to see how he is. We’re mindful of the workload of ‘Tatts’ and we have been leaving things open to see how he was going. There are other areas we feel we need for the T20s, so Nicholas has been on the radar for some time.”

“At some point we needed to make a decision on which path to take, so we decided to go for him, albeit for a short five-game spell.”