Birthday joy forJoe!

England's cricketer Joe Root bats during a practice session ahead of their first one-day international cricket match with Sri Lanka in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Tuesday.
England's cricketer Joe Root bats during a practice session ahead of their first one-day international cricket match with Sri Lanka in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Tuesday.

Sheffield’s brilliant England batsman Joe Root has been handed an early birthday present - a two-year extension until 2016 at Yorkshire.

Root, will be 24 on Sunday, made his Yorkshire Second Team debut on 18 July 2007, against Derbyshire at Abbeydale Park - and has now become an internatioally recognised star with England.

Yorkshire wicketkeeper Andrew Hodd and leg-spinner Adil Rashid have also extended their deals.

“It is important to keep the squad together as much as we possibly can,” said Yorkshire Director Martyn Moxon. “We’ve had some success over the last few years, but it is only the start. To get the core of the squad signed for the next 12 months is very important.”

Bradford-born seamer Moin Ashraf has signed a one-year agreement until the end of next season. The 22-year-old will spend the winter playing grade cricket in Adelaide and will depart for the southern hemisphere on Friday. Ashraf, who featured heavily in Yorkshire’s dominance of T20 cricket in 2012, will be looking to reach his full potential over the next 12 months after two years of failing to break into the first team on a regular basis.

“It is fair to say that Moin has had a couple of disappointing years,” said Moxon.

“He has been working hard in the close season on his overall fitness and a winter in Australia will do him good. He just needs to be training and playing as much as he can. He hasn’t had regular cricket because of injuries and various other things. It is an important season for him and I want him challenging to be amongst our senior squad. He has shown in previous seasons that he can perform at the highest level and he needs to find a way of recapturing that form.”

Yorkshire have rewarded three players – slow left-armer Karl Carver and seamers Matthew Fisher and Josh Shaw – with professional contracts. The trio featured prominently with the England under 19s during the summer have signed two-year deals.

Moxon believes their youthful exuberance has been positive during winter training.

“The young lads have brought energy and freshness to training so far,” he said.