YORKSHIRE insist that Duanne Olivier will be fit for their opening County Championship match of the season after the pace bowler suffered an injury scare.
The South African pulled up midway through his fourth over on the final day of the three-day friendly against Leeds-Bradford MCCU at Weetwood.
Olivier left the field feeling a twinge in his right knee after slipping during his delivery stride.
But it was purely precautionary with the club insisting that he will be fit for Friday’s fixture against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.
“I did think, ‘Oh no, this can’t be happening’ when he (Olivier) tried to walk and stopped again,” said first-team coach Andrew Gale.
“But it was clear within 15 minutes he’d be okay when he asked if he could go out and bowl again.
It was just precautionary to keep him off the field because it’s a massive game (against Notts). We’ll make sure that we wrap him in cotton wool and then cut it off on Friday.Yorkshire coach, Andrew Gale
“I said no and it was just precautionary to keep him off the field because it’s a massive game (against Notts).
“We’ll make sure that we wrap him in cotton wool and then cut it off on Friday.”
Olivier, 26, had a low-key but useful debut as he acclimatised to English conditions against the students, who were thumped by an innings and 151 runs after losing last week by 336 runs away to Derbyshire.
The Kolpak star, who joined the club on a three-year deal in February after turning his back on Test cricket with South Africa, returned 2-38 from 14 overs in the first innings and 2-30 from 10.4 in the second.
Olivier’s first wicket of the game was his 400th in first-class cricket on only his 97th appearance and he now averages 21.81 in first-class action.
It emphasises the pedigree of a player who has also controversially declared his intention to one day qualify to represent England, having turned down a two-year contract with Cricket South Africa.
Mathew Pilans, another South African pace bowler who joined Yorkshire from Surrey last season, claimed his first wickets for the club after conceding 25 runs from four wicket-less overs in the first innings.
The 27-year-old, who made his Yorkshire debut in the Championship game away to Notts at Trent Bridge last September, returned 2-34 from 10 overs yesterday, including the wicket of former Yorkshire wicketkeeper Johnny Read.
Pillans is one of a number of pace men at Emerald Headingley vying for a place in the Championship side, with Yorkshire possessing plenty of depth.
He also struck Read a nasty blow on the helmet with a bouncer.
“It was good to see him bowl well in the second innings and show what he can do,” said Gale.
“I think everyone is starting to hit their straps.”
Resuming their innings on 91-3 after a short delay due to rain – 279 runs adrift – Leeds-Bradford fought hard, but were chiselled out by the Yorkshire bowlers, with Olivier’s opening partner Ben Coad also finishing with two wickets.
There was a wicket apiece for captain Steve Patterson, Jack Leaning and Matthew Waite, the latter having claimed his maiden five-wicket haul in first-class cricket in the first innings.
“Matthew Waite has been the pick of the bowlers throughout pre-season,” added Gale.
“He’s come back from Australia (where he played grade cricket in the winter) and hit the ground running.”
Waite captured the last wicket as Yorkshire wrapped up victory just before tea, Leeds-Bradford finishing on 219 with last man Josh Fallows unable to bat due to injury.
It was, as the old saying goes, a “useful workout” for the county team, with Tom Kohler-Cadmore and Jonny Tattersall striking hundreds as Yorkshire seek greater consistency from their batting department.
“The facilities were outstanding and the pitch was good, and it allowed everyone to get some time at the crease and overs under their belt,” said Gale.
“Leeds-Bradford showed a lot of character – the young batsman (Saad) Ashraf did well both innings and looks a decent player. Fair play to the students.”
Looking ahead to Notts, Gale added: “We’re two strong sides on paper. Both teams will want to get out of the blocks well.
“They’re two of the best bowling attacks in county cricket, I think, and it will be a great spectacle. Everyone’s happy the season is here.”
England Test captain Joe Root will return to the Yorkshire side at Trent Bridge where he will line-up against his international pace bowling colleague Stuart Broad.