Snow time for Tykes to feel sorry for themselves

Sheffield Collegiate CC - 1st XI Joe Root top scored with 82 in the defeat vs York at Abbeydale.
Sheffield Collegiate CC - 1st XI Joe Root top scored with 82 in the defeat vs York at Abbeydale.

YORKSHIRE should get their 2012 County Championship season underway today at Kent, still smarting from the indignity of relegation last term - but determined to bounce back at the first attempt.

The Tykes’ Headingley headquarters suffered a light covering of snow yesterday, but Yorkshire’s groundsmen are confident that play will go ahead.

A scheduled 11am start, however, looks doubtful.

“The top end of the outfield is drying off really well, but the south end is like a river,” Adam Cutmore, a member of the Yorkshire groundstaff, told the Sheffield Telegraph.

“We’re doubtful it’ll be underway by 11am, but we’ll work hard to get the game on as soon as possible.”

Yorkshire, once hailed as the brightest young side in the country under the tutelage of Andrew Gale, almost won the County Championship first division in 2010, but were relegated last term.

They recovered from the disappointment, however, to win the Barbados Twenty20 cup on their pre-season tour of the Caribbean earlier this year - and Gale believes his youthful squad is in a “fantastic place” at the minute.

“I think we played some really good cricket out in Barbados and I’m excited for what’s around the corner for this group of players,” he said.

Much is expected from opening batsman Joe Root, who learnt his cricketing trade at Sheffield Collegiate CC.

The 21-year-old scored almost 1,000 runs in his first full season in the Yorkshire team, and will hope to experience similar success in division two after a winter playing with the England Lions.

Root scored 72 against Durham in a two-day friendly on Monday, including a six off Ashes winning fast bowler Steve Harmison.

And his rise to promience has been such that David Lloyd, the former England player and coach, has tipped him as a replacement for Andrew Strauss in the England side if the test skipper’s poor run of form continues.

“There is an opportunity there for Joe Root without a doubt, and everyone that you speak to who has seen him puts his name forward,” Lloyd, now a successful Sky Sports commentator and pundit, said.

“He’s a very good player, who has got a lot going for him. He’s an England player in waiting.”

Only four of head coach Martyn Moxon’s current squad are over 30 - Anthony McGrath, Gerard Brophy, Ryan Sidebottom and Phil Jaques - and wicket-keeper/batsman Jonny Bairstow, aged 22, could be another stand-out performer.

Gale also has improved options at his disposal in the bowling department, as Ajmal Shahzad has recovered from an ankle injury that niggled him last season.

The ‘Old Guard’ of new club president Geoffrey Boycott and chairman Colin Graves have wasted no time in demanding promotion - now it is up to Yorkshire’s young pretenders to deliver.

Yorkshire squad v Kent at Headingley, April 5-8: Andrew Gale (capt), Joe Sayers (vice capt), Joe Root, Anthony McGrath, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Gary Ballance, Adil Rashid, Ajmal Shahzad, Richard Pyrah, Ryan Sidebottom, Iain Wardlaw, Steve Patterson, Adam Lyth.