Sheffield’s Joe Root will enjoy a rare homecoming tonight when Yorkshire Vikings face their Roses rivals Lancashire in a televised NatWest T20 Blast clash at Headingley.
Root, fresh from playing in England’s drawn Test series with New Zealand, has been given permission by the ECB to play for Yorkshire, alongside England team-mate Gary Ballance.
The two make up a strong 14-man Vikings squad, which also includes fellow England stars Adam Lyth, Jonny Bairstow, Liam Plunkett and Adil Rashid.
Andrew Gale is expected to make his 100th T20 appearance for Yorkshire, and Australian star Glenn Maxwell will experience his first taste of Roses cricket.
“I am enjoying my time at the club,” Australian star Maxwell, nicknamed ‘Big Show’, said.
“There is a good vibe about the place and the players really want to achieve something this year alongside their Championship success from last season.
“I’ve settled in well; Headingley is a good spot. Hopefully, we can create something special against Lancashire.”
Headingley is a sell-out for the game, screened live on Sky Sports, and Maxwell added: “The Roses game, whatever format you play, is very special and has an incredible history.
“It is renowned throughout the world. Headingley is going to be rocking tonight with a full house.
“The boys haven’t really talked about the match this week. We are preparing just like it is any other game.
“The fact that the game is sold-out, and will be played in front of the television cameras, adds to the excitement for the fans and for everyone involved.”
Maxwell, who is also playing four-day, red-ball cricket with Yorkshire, is gearing up for his first game on home Headingley turf - and will also likely come up against fellow Aussie, James Faulkner.
“I relish playing in front of big crowds that generate a good atmosphere,” Maxwell said.
“I’ve been told the atmosphere and crowd really play their part in these Roses matches. Hopefully, we’ll get a win and build on recent performances.
“I’ve been very impressed with the boys’ attitude in the first two games I’ve played in the Blast. We are trying to be very positive in our approach and aggressive in every aspect of our game. This game is about positive momentum and I think we are building something special here.”
“James is a wonderful cricketer and performs when the pressure is on,” Maxwell added.
“For Australia he has scored crucial runs and taken important wickets to win matches.
“We are all well aware of his abilities. James is a key part of Lancashire’s side, but they are not a one-man team. They have some excellent players and we will have to be at our best.”
Maxwell’s fellow Aussie Aaron Finch is set to arrive in Yorkshire this weekend, after undergoing treatment on an injured hamstring.
“I’m look forward to seeing my best mate. He is very excited to be coming back to Yorkshire,” Maxwell said.
“I’m looking forward to playing alongside him. His rehab is going extremely well and he is looking to make his second debut for the Club against Northants in the T20 Blast on June 14.”