YORKSHIRE say there is an outside chance that they could have one or more of their England contingent back for tomorrow’s Royal London Cup quarter-final play-off against Essex at Chelmsford.
The club have been told that players could be released back to them if they miss out on selection for today’s one-day international against Australia at The Oval.
Yorkshire have five men in the squad for the five-match ODI series: Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Liam Plunkett, David Willey and Adil Rashid.
However, they are bracing themselves for having none of their leading international stars, with overseas player Cheteshwar Pujara also absent due to India’s Test match against Afghanistan in Bangalore, which starts tomorrow.
Martyn Moxon, Yorkshire’s director of cricket, said: “We’ve been told that if any of the England lads are not going to play, then they would be released back to us.
“Fortunately, the one-day international is at the Oval, so it’s not as if Essex is too far away. So there is potential, maybe, for someone if they’re not in the side at the Oval to be released for Thursday.”
England could opt to make changes after their shock six-run defeat against Scotland on Sunday. Pace bowler Jake Ball has been drafted into the squad as a replacement for the injured Chris Woakes (quad), who misses the first part of the ODI series along with Ben Stokes (hamstring). Surrey’s Tom Curran is another bowling option.
However, there is no chance of Yorkshire having Bairstow, who became the first Englishman to score three successive ODI centuries in the match in Edinburgh, or Test captain Root, while Rashid was England’s most successful bowler against the Scots with 2-72.
Plunkett was the most expensive with 2-85 but then struck 47 not out, while Willey – who bowled 10 wicket-less overs for 72 and scored only seven – has been in fine form of late.
Whatever happens, Yorkshire believe they are underdogs going into the knockouts, with other sides having more settled combinations. Their squad for Chelmsford has a much-changed look from the one that secured qualification last week against Northants.
Bairstow was rested by England for that match and Plunkett dropped after conceding 76 runs from eight overs in the previous fixture at Lancashire, but Root, Rashid, Willey and Pujara all played, prompting Yorkshire to call-up batsmen Harry Brook and Jack Leaning, along with pace bowlers Ben Coad and Jack Brooks and young all-rounder Jordan Thompson to face Essex, whose captain, Ryan ten Doeschate, is suspended in a major blow to the hosts.
Yorkshire have confirmed that Steve Patterson will continue to captain in the one-day competition in place of official club captain Gary Ballance, who has played as a batsman only since returning to the side midway through the group stage.
Moxon said that Ballance had been struggling with fatigue-like symptoms and that Patterson would also take charge of any semi-final, with the winners of tomorrow’s game facing Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl on Monday (11am start).
Yorkshire return to County Championship action at the Ageas Bowl next Wednesday, although it remains to be seen whether Ballance will then take up the reins. Yorkshire have also to decide who will captain should they reach the Royal London Cup final at Lord’s on June 30 as they chase their first one-day trophy since 2002.
That aspiration seemed, if not quite dead in the water, then somewhat unlikely after they won only one of their first four games at the halfway stage of the group campaign.
But four successive victories saw Yorkshire finish third in the North Group, with only Notts’s remarkable win with 38.1 overs to spare against Derbyshire last Thursday denying Yorkshire a home quarter-final play-off against Kent, with Notts pipping Yorkshire into second place on net run-rate.
Following their indifferent start, Yorkshire are just happy to be in the knockouts, which they have reached for a fifth successive year.
They beat Essex at Chelmsford at the same quarter-final stage in 2015 but have not progressed beyond the semis in any of those seasons.
“It’s really pleasing to get into the knockouts,” said Moxon.
“We had a couple of defeats at home early on, which could easily have derailed us, but we finished the group stages really strongly.”
Yorkshire (from): Ballance, Bresnan, Brook, Brooks, Carver, Coad, Fisher, Kohler-Cadmore, Leaning, Lyth, Patterson (captain), Tattersall, Thompson.