Yorkshire look to Australia again as Travis Head exits

Travis Head has left Yorkshire having been called up by Australia.Travis Head has left Yorkshire having been called up by Australia.
Travis Head has left Yorkshire having been called up by Australia.
YORKSHIRE are close to signing what director of cricket Martyn Moxon has described as 'a quality young Australian batsman'.

Moxon has moved quickly to attempt to plug the gap left by Travis Head, who was yesterday called up by Australia for their tour of Sri Lanka.

Yorkshire are working closely with Cricket Australia to recruit a replacement, who would be available for the last six County Championship games as the club look to land a hat-trick of titles.

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However, regulations would prevent Yorkshire from fielding any new man in the Royal London Cup and the NatWest T20 Blast, so they will have to make do without an overseas player from now on in those competitions after reaching the last eight.

“We’re in talks with Cricket Australia and one of their young players with a view to him hopefully joining us in time for the Roses match and for the remainder of the summer,” said Moxon, with Yorkshire taking on Lancashire in the Championship at Old Trafford from Saturday.

“The person we have in mind is a quality young Australian batsman, but there are still a number of details to be finalised.

“We can’t have anybody now for the one-day tournaments, which is a nuisance, because they would have to have played in the group stages.

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“But we want to get someone in for Championship cricket, and Cricket Australia have said they will try and help us given that it’s really quick that Travis has been taken away from us.”

Head was whisked off to link-up with Australia’s squad for the third and final Test in Colombo.

Although he will not play in that game, Australia want him to train with the squad after drafting him in for the subsequent one-day series that begins on August 21.

Australia have struggled on the subcontinent – they have already lost the Test series – and were keen to freshen up the party.

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Head, 22, has been in good form for Yorkshire, for whom he scored 446 runs in all cricket – including 175 in the Royal London Cup match against Leicestershire at Grace Road.

“It’s obviously not ideal that Travis has gone, but it was nice to have had him briefly and he did well for us,” said Moxon.

“He fitted into the dressing room really well, and he’s a good lad as well as a talented player.

“It’s nice to have forged a relationship with him, and he’s certainly someone that we would look to get back if the circumstances were right.

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“We’ll have to wait and see what happens, but we were certainly impressed.”

Head’s departure highlights a lack of batting options given that Yorkshire are so hard-hit by international calls.

Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow and Gary Ballance are all involved in the Test series against Pakistan, and there is no one in the second team currently banging down the door.

After Yorkshire’s win over Warwickshire in the Championship last Saturday, captain Andrew Gale candidly admitted that he would consider dropping himself if there was anyone putting pressure on his place.

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The situation has prompted Yorkshire to start looking around the shires for a batsman who could join them for next season, with the club having identified their top-order as an area in need of strengthening.

“We are looking to bring in a domestic batsman with a view to then not requiring, or being reliant on, an overseas player necessarily,” said Moxon.

“The situation with Travis – and with Kane Williamson earlier in the season – has highlighted that it’s difficult to get quality overseas players in for any length of time, and that they can be taken away from you at the drop of a hat.

“Unfortunately, there’s no real consistency from people in the second XI at the moment to put pressure on lads in the first team, and we need that.

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“It’s something that we’ve been speaking about to the lads in the second team.”

Although there have been some good individual performances at times in the seconds, with Moxon praising the work of bowlers such as Ben Coad and Karl Carver, Yorkshire are keen to increase competition for places.

In many ways, the club are victims of their own success in that several players that they have brought through have gone on to become key men for England.

“We need that competition for places,” said Moxon.

“It’s something that’s frustrating us as a coaching staff at the minute that nobody’s really saying, ‘Pick me’.

“Individuals have done well at times, but it’s all about consistency of performance.

“To get picked for the first team, you’ve ideally got to be dominating second XI cricket.”