Yorkshire CCC v Worcestershire: Matt Milnes' return a rare positive for the White Rose
The 29-year-old was signed on a three-year deal last August but has made just one appearance for Yorkshire, in the opening game of the season.
All-rounder Milnes first injured his back in his final game for Kent before even joining up with his new Yorkshire team-mates, and after rehabbing the injury over the winter, aggravated it on his Yorkshire debut, despite taking four wickets and scoring 90 runs in the defeat to Leicestershire.
That ruled him out for much of the summer, but after easing back into action by representing the second team against Lancashire, Surrey and Durham - in which he took 12 wickets and scored 91, 34 and 36 - Milnes is finally ready to show Yorkshire what he is made of.
For head coach Ottis Gibson it is a real positive after a summer blighted by weather-ruined games and the 48-point deduction over the racism crisis.
Gibson said: “From the time he was nearing fitness, we said that if the opportunity presents itself to get him back on the park, that would be fantastic.
“Exactly the same thing happened last year with Fish (Matt Fisher) when he had his stressy. He played the final game against Gloucestershire.
“From a mental standpoint for Matt, he’s worked really hard in the gym trying to get back to fitness. He’s gone away and played those second-team games and bowled his overs. The first game he played, they were managing his overs. But he’s bowled his overs, and it will be really good to get him back on the park. He was brought in to be one of our main bowlers, so we’ve missed him a lot.”
As to the extent of how much Milnes will play if selected, Gibson said: “He will come in and play fully as a bowler.
“The good thing for him is that because of our two batting all-rounders in Revis and Hill, we’ve got five seamers on the park and he doesn’t need to be overloaded.
“At the same time, he will be expected to play a full part in the game.
“I saw the footage from Durham, and he looked beautiful. He was running in with a lot more confidence. He practised with us before that game and said he was feeling really good.”
Worcestershire come into the game needing just two points to secure promotion to Division One while Yorkshire’s more modest ambitions is to win seven more points than Gloucestershire, who travel to Sussex, t avoid the ignominy of finishing bottom.
“I keep saying this all the time. I don’t think the points we have – not withstanding those that have been taken away – reflects the kind of cricket we’ve played.
“I think we’ve played some decent four-day cricket, but we haven’t been able to push for wins on day four.”