Yorkshire set target by Moxon to clinch the title

Yorkshire's Andrew Gale
Yorkshire's Andrew Gale
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MARTYN MOXON is confident Yorkshire’s disappointing showing in Twenty20 cricket will not derail their attempt to win the County Championship.

Leaders Yorkshire go into their Championship match against Warwickshire at Headingley today on the back of their least successful 20-over campaign.

The club lost seven of their 10 games to finish bottom of the North Division – a significant fall from grace after they finished runners-up last year and helped fly the English flag in the international Champions League.

But director of cricket Moxon insists this summer’s Twenty20 results will have no bearing on Yorkshire’s No 1 target – to win the Championship in their 150th year.

“The Championship is a totally different game and we’ve got a different team, so the Twenty20 shouldn’t derail us,” he said.

“Our Twenty20 campaign was disappointing but we need to put it behind us now and get back to doing what we’ve done well so far this season, which is to play some very good four-day cricket.

“We’ve practised well in the last couple of days and I expect us to carry on from where we left off in the Championship, when we had a convincing win against Derbyshire at Chesterfield.

“Our one-day cricket has been disappointing generally this summer, both YB40 and T20, but we’ve been excellent so far in the four-day game.”

Yorkshire have won five of their 10 Championship fixtures to deservedly climb to the top of the table.

They are seven points ahead of Sussex, who have played one game more, and 19.5 points ahead of Durham, who have played one game less.

Middlesex, 24 points adrift, and Warwickshire, 37 behind, will also feel they are still in the hunt.

But Moxon believes Yorkshire will be there or thereabouts if they maintain their 50 per cent win ratio.

“Three wins from our last six should put us somewhere near,” said Moxon, whose side conclude their campaign with matches against Notts at Trent Bridge, Durham at Scarborough, Sussex at Hove, Middlesex at Headingley and Surrey at The Oval.

“We set out to try to win every game, but eight or nine wins always give you a chance.

“We’re definitely capable of winning the title, but there’s maybe four or five clubs who think they can win it, too, if they put a run together.

“It’s important we don’t look too far ahead because there’s a lot of difficult matches to come.”

If anything is certain as the Championship nears its climax, it is that someone is going to have to play extremely well to knock Yorkshire from their perch.

There is still time for the picture to change with over a third of the campaign remaining, but the ruthless nature of Yorkshire’s victories – not least the innings hammering dished out to Warwickshire at Edgbaston – have borne the hallmark of potential champions.

“I’m delighted with the way the lads have played so far this year,” added Moxon.

“It’s been really good to watch and some of the performances have been particularly clinical.

“Liam Plunkett and Jack Brooks have been excellent for us since joining in the winter, giving us a new dimension with the bowling and extra cutting edge, while the batting has been consistently impressive.

“We’ve had eight centurions this year in Championship cricket, which is a great return.

“But the key thing now is to keep it going.

“We’ve done really well for 10 games but a lot can happen in the final six and we need to maintain the standards we’ve set.

“It’s exciting times and if we can win the Championship this year we’ll have thoroughly deserved to because there are some very good teams out there.

“It’s going to be a fascinating last couple of months of the season.”

Moxon has presided over the build-up to the Warwickshire game, with first-team coach Jason Gillespie having returned to Australia for his father’s funeral.

Gillespie is due back in England on Sunday having missed the latter stages of the T20 campaign.

“Dizzy is due back sometime on Sunday so it depends how he feels as far as his jet-lag is concerned as to whether he comes to the ground that day,” said Moxon.

“Knowing Dizzy, he’ll probably pop his head around the door at some point.

“It’s been a tragic period for him and obviously everyone’s thoughts are with him and his family.

“The funeral takes place on Saturday, I believe, and Dizzy is flying back shortly after that.”

Yorkshire will be forced to tinker with their batting order this week in the absence of Phil Jaques (rib) and Joe Sayers (thigh).

Andrew Gale – himself recovered from a broken hand – could move up to No 3, with all-rounder Rich Pyrah providing an extra middle-order option.

Azeem Rafiq completes a 12-man squad.