Cold start but Yorkshire CCC confident of making it hot for spectators

Yorkshire director of cricket Martyn Moxon. Photo: Gareth Copley/Getty ImagesYorkshire director of cricket Martyn Moxon. Photo: Gareth Copley/Getty Images
Yorkshire director of cricket Martyn Moxon. Photo: Gareth Copley/Getty Images
Yorkshire are planning to arrange friendly matches against county opposition from next month onwards as they gear up for the start of the new cricket season.

The club has had to abandon plans for a pre-season tour due to the coronavirus crisis and the restrictions placed around global travel.

Yorkshire normally like to get abroad for warm-weather practice in March but they were forced to quit their tour of India last year when the pandemic struck.

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It means that they will have to take their chance with the English weather as they fine-tune preparations for the coming campaign, which starts with a County Championship home fixture against Glamorgan at Emerald Headingley on April 8.

Martyn Moxon, the Yorkshire director of cricket, said: “We’re definitely not going abroad this year on a pre-season tour, so the plan is to arrange some friendly matches in this country from mid-March onwards.”

As previously reported, Yorkshire are hoping to play a couple of warm-up games against university opposition prior to their Championship opener, subject to the ongoing rules and restrictions.

Plans are necessarily fluid pending an announcement later this month by the government concerning the ongoing lockdown.

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Of pressing concern to all Yorkshire supporters and county followers, of course, is whether crowds will be allowed in time for the start of the Championship season.

At this stage, one might just as confidently bet on sightings of Lord Lucan riding Shergar flanked by the crew of the Mary Celeste, with the obvious possibility that the campaign will have to begin behind closed doors.

It remains impossible to predict when the return of fans will happen, or what numbers will be permitted when they do.

All Yorkshire can do is focus on preparing for what has the makings of a successful season, with the club believing it has its strongest squad since the Championship-winning years of the mid-2010s.

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Updating on Yorkshire’s pre-season programme, Moxon said: “We’re pretty much back in full-time now, five days a week.

“We’re still in one-to-one or small groups in little bubbles if you like to try and avoid any major Covid issues and, touch wood, so far so good with that and we’re really pleased with the way that training is progressing.

“In the next week or so we’re going to be looking at introducing bat versus ball because we haven’t had batsmen against bowlers yet because we wanted to keep the groups as small as possible.

“Bowlers have just been bowling through at targets and batsmen have either been on machines or (receiving) side-arm. We’re constantly assessing the Covid situation and working on how many we can have in a net just to make things as safe as possible.”

Yorkshire will soon find out their white-ball fixtures, with an announcement expected by the England and Wales Cricket Board next week.