‘Intrigued’ Tykes chief Moxon hails return of star man Root

Joe Root is back at Headingley
Joe Root is back at Headingley

Martyn Moxon admits he is intrigued to see how the pink ball round of Championship matches will play out next week.

Yorkshire host Surrey in their eighth Specsavers County Championship match of the season at Headingley, starting today.

They are bidding for a third win in four matches and a fourth in all this season after their innings defeat against Middlesex inside three days at Lord’s earlier this week.

Yorkshire made four changes to their team for the defeat to Middlesex this week, and will make at least another two with Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow both available.

It will be their only first-class appearance before the first Test against South Africa at Lord’s next month, Root’s debut as England’s new Test captain.

“We’re used to the England lads coming in and out of the team, so that won’t be a problem,” added Moxon.

“Joe will just carry on doing what he does, score runs and act like a leader.

“That’s what he is.”

Yorkshire have some experience of pink ball cricket under lights having played the champion county match against the MCC in Abu Dhabi in 2015.

“It’s going to be interesting to see how it plays,” said Yorkshire’s director of cricket, pictured above.

“Nobody really knows what it’s going to be like in England from 2pm to 9pm. It’s going to be alien hours with a pink ball, and one nobody has really used yet.

“There are lots of unknowns, but it’s quite exciting.

“A sunny day, it won’t affect the game too much. But a cloudy damp day at Headingley, the seamers might be licking their lips.”

Upon returning from Abu Dhabi a couple of years ago, Moxon was quite skeptical of the whole concept.

“Only because I do feel that if the weather is cloudy and overcast in England, then what’s it going to be like at seven, eight or nine o’clock at night?,” he explained.

“That period could completely shift the game.

“Will it attract a whole new audience to county cricket? We will only find out by trying it.

“Weather like we had at Lord’s, floodlit cricket, you won’t even need the floodlights. If it’s a cold day, I can’t see thousands turning up to watch cricket at 8 o’clock.

“The weather will be very important for the future of day/night, pink ball cricket.”

One thing that is completely unknown to Yorkshire is the use of a Dukes ball.

When Yorkshire played with the pink one, they used a Kookaburra, identical to the current limited overs white ball.

“At the minute, the white Kookaburra ball we use doesn’t do that much,” said Moxon.

“The pink Duke has a prouder seam on it, will hopefully keep its shine and might do a little bit more than a white ball currently does.

“We’ll just have to wait and see.

“I’m looking forward to it to see what happens because it might all be a roaring success.

“It’s a big game for both sides.

“If you don’t try these things, you’ll never know.”

Yorkshire skipper Gary Ballance is available for the first two days of the game only, after being called up to captain the England Lions against South Africa, and will play despite his colourblindness. He has special lenses available, but is unlikely to use them whilst batting - if at all.

“It’s the contrast with him. Pink isn’t quite as dark as red against a white background,” said Moxon.

“But Gary will be fine.”

Vice-skipper Tim Bresnan will captain Yorkshire in his absence.