Yorkshire CCC step up preparations with trio of friendly matches

YORKSHIRE have finalised a trio of friendly fixtures as the countdown continues towards the new season.

Yorkshire Vikings' Adam Lyth.

The club will fulfill two separate two-day games on March 22/23 against Durham at Emerald Headingley and against Middlesex at Merchant Taylors’ School in Northwood.

Yorkshire will also play Derbyshire at Derby on March 25/26.

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In addition, the club is hoping to stage two three-day university matches against Leeds-Bradford and Durham universities.

Yorkshire's director of Cricket Martyn Moxon.

However, those are contingent on the university players being up to speed having only recently been given the green light to resume training due to the coronavirus restrictions.

All pre-season friendlies are being played behind closed doors due to those restrictions, pending the official return of spectators to sports grounds from May 17, subject to various conditions being met in the fight against Covid.

It is likely that Yorkshire would try to slip in another inter-county friendly if the university matches are unable to proceed, with the club beginning their County Championship programme against Glamorgan at Headingley on April 8.

Martyn Moxon, the Yorkshire director of cricket, explained: “As things stand, we’re hopeful that the university games will go ahead.

“They’ve been granted permission to start training, and I’m due to speak to both the universities over the next few days to see how they’re getting on with that.

“We’re hopeful that they’ll have had enough time to prepare because obviously they haven’t been doing anything so far.

“They were only given that permission to start training at the back end of last week.”

Moxon said the double-header on March 22/23 against Durham and Middlesex would not be split along the lines of a first-team match and a second-team match – rather an amalgam that ensures everyone gets a game.

“All the squad will be able to have some cricket over those two days,” he said. “There’s no set plan with it as such.

“We’ve just put two games in so that everybody can get a game of cricket.

“I don’t think we’re going to class it as first or second XI.”

Moxon is happy with the pre-season programme.

There has been no tour this year due to the pandemic, meaning every club is having to make the best of a challenging situation.

“We’re pleased with the programme and obviously hope now that the weather will play ball,” he added.

“We’re at the mercy of the weather but, given reasonable luck with that, we feel that we’ve got a programme that will set us up nicely for the 8th of April.

“After lots of indoor training, we’re hoping to get outside on grass the week after next, so the week commencing the 15th is the target for outdoor practice.

“The lads are itching to get outside now and chomping at the bit.”

Adam Lyth is on course to be fit for the start of the season after the batsman was forced to cut short his stay in the Pakistan Super League due to a calf injury.

South African pace bowler Duanne Olivier will quarantine in the Maldives for 10 days before a further 10-day quarantine period in the UK. The pace bowler cannot fly here directly due to the travel restrictions.

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