Yorkshire face tough qualifying challenge – Collingwood

tHE only cricketer to lead England to success in a major one-day tournament believes Yorkshire face an uphill task to make an impact at the Champions League Twenty20.

Paul Collingwood will be part of the Perth Scorchers side looking to win the competition, which starts on Tuesday.

The Australian side, drawn in Group A, are strongly fancied to do well in South Africa after finishing as runners-up to Sydney Sixers in this year’s Big Bash final.

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By the time Perth get their challenge under way on Saturday against Titans, Yorkshire may well be already out due to the White Rose county having to battle through a qualifying round before joining the competition proper in Group B.

Hampshire, who beat Andrew Gale’s side at Twenty20 finals day in Cardiff, are in the same position of having to qualify for the group stage and Collingwood believes this puts the two English counties at a serious disadvantage.

“Yorkshire obviously have to get through to the main round and it will be tough,” said Collingwood, who was speaking exclusively to the Yorkshire Post in his role as an ambassador for Clydesdale Bank.

“It is the same for the other English county, Hampshire, who have lost Simon Katich. He was a big player for them last season but is now with us at Perth.

“A lot of the teams involved in the Champions League have a lot of international experience. There are some big names. And they will want to do well. Having said that, that is all they are at the end of the day. Names. If you play well as a team then that can help you go a long way. As long as Yorkshire understand their roles in the team, they can cause an upset.

“It is amazing what can happen in David v Goliath type situations. Sometimes, you look at the two teamsheets and think you know who the winner is.

“But in Twenty20, you can overcome some big names and big teams if you play together and everyone understands their roles.

“I remember playing out in South Africa at a similar time of the year with England in the Champions Trophy. It was a few years ago but the wickets did a little bit. It is an early season bit of dampness in the pitch which meant the ball seamed and swung around a bit.

“That may pull the teams a little bit closer together. The teams brimming with international quality might be vulnerable to the lesser teams. Yorkshire have to play on that and see what happens.”

Yorkshire face Sri Lankan side Uva Next in Johannesburg on Tuesday and then Trinidad and Tobago the following day, with the target of finishing top of qualifying Pool Two.

If Gale’s men can achieve their aim, they will then go into Group B alongside Sydney Sixers, Mumbai Indians, Highveld Lions and Chennai Super Kings.

Asked who he fancied to prevail in a tournament that offers a cash prize of £1.6m for the winning side, Collingwood replied: “Other than ourselves?

“Delhi (Daredevils) will be a hard team to play against. You look at the quality they have with players like Kevin Pietersen and they will be decent.

“Playing against the likes of Virender Sehwag, David Warner, Morne Morkel will be tough for anyone.

“And you can name loads like them, right through the entire tournament.”