Champions League T20 2012 October 21, 2012

Yorkshire richer for the experience

When Yorkshire qualified for the main draw of the Champions League T20, their captain Andrew Gale said it would "not matter if we lose every match, we just want to enjoy the rollercoaster ride." It has not got that bad yet, but it could.

Yorkshire have already lost to Sydney Sixers and Lions, and overcoming Chennai Super Kings will be a tough ask for a team already missing two strike bowlers and an experienced opener. Both Ryan Sidebottom and Moin Ashraf have hurt hamstrings and missed Yorkshire's match against Lions, while Australia's Phil Jaques, who opens the batting for them, suspects he may have a torn hip flexor.

They could have had one more down too. Azeem Rafiq appeared to hurt his finger against Lions, when he leapt for a catch that ended up being a boundary. He left the field and for one ball, Yorkshire did not have anyone else to do their substitute fielding, because Eddie Wilson was already on for Jaques. Their coach Jason Gillespie had to get on the park and admitted to having "sweaty palms," as he rolled back the years.

Injuries have affected Yorkshire more than other teams, primarily because the CLT20 has come at the end of a long county season. "We start with pre-season in March and this year we actually had an extra six weeks of cricket," Gale said.

With wear and tear starting to show, Yorkshire had to use rookie quick Oliver Hannon-Dalby against Lions, even though he was not due to feature in the competition at all. "To make your 20-over debut in the Champions League is not an easy thing to do," Gale said. Hannon-Dalby took 1 for 35 in the match at the Wanderers, in which Yorkshire ran the Lions close.

Despite scoring a below-par 131 for 7, Yorkshire's bowlers made life difficult for the local batsmen and Lions only reached the victory target with four balls remaining. "We thought we were 20 runs short and 150 would have been a winning total but we did well to take it that far," Gale said.

It was more than what Yorkshire managed against Sydney, where they hobbled to 96 for 9 in Cape Town, and the fight they showed in Johannesburg was heartening for Gale. "We would have liked to compete against Sydney, so to lose the way we did there was disappointing," he said. "It was nice that our bowlers got a good start against the Lions. It was always going to be difficult to defend but we did well."

After Yorkshire beat Uva Next and 2009 finalists Trinidad and Tobago comprehensively in the qualifiers, perhaps more was expected of them. They entered the tournament determined to make a good impression for English cricket as a whole, especially since they may be the last county to play in it. With the CLT20 causing too much re-scheduling to the English domestic season, the ECB have already announced their intention not to send any teams to next year's event.

Even though his team did not set the tournament alight, Gale said they will take a lot out of it. "This has been a really good experience for us and we have loved every minute of it. For some of the young guys in our squad, it was wonderful to be a part of."

Having lost to both the group's semi-finalists, Gale was also in a good position to comment on who he thought could go all the way. "I think Sydney are the team to watch out for, they have got all their bases covered," Gale said, adding that Lions would have to up their game if they hope to reach the final. "The Lions should have won at a canter against us but they had a really nervy start. Just listening to their captain, they will need to have that much extra to win in the knockouts."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Harmon on October 23, 2012, 19:16 GMT

    Yorkshire definitely richer but only in terms of money. In all other aspects they have been a joke of a team along with Hampshire. Such teams should be made to play through two rounds of qualifiers to ensure they will not reduce the quality of the richest cricket league in the world. My laugh when I read them giving excuses that they were missing several players and hence could not do well. T&T too were without several quality players but Yorkshire seem to think big of themselves for beating them. And ohhh, Mumbai Indians too were without 7 players in the 2011 CLT20 and yet they went on to WIN that title. Wonder what Yorkshire and Hampshire have to say now. I think they must be speechless. If this is the level of English teams then I would rather have SLPL or BPL teams in the next CLT20. They are definitely better than these trifles.

  • vas on October 23, 2012, 10:16 GMT

    To make CLT20 a credible competition, they have to remove the qualifying round. Make 16 team competition divided into 4groups of 4 teams each, with top two in each group go to the super eight.Then as in World T20 two groups of super eight, then semi finals and final.Now that the tournament is more or less established fans (specially Indian fans which organizers seem to target) will follow the progress of neutral teams as well.

  • Robert on October 23, 2012, 8:23 GMT

    @Jose: Ballance has looked good for some time. Averages >50 in 1st class and domestic one day, good strike rate in T20. From what I have seen he would be a better choice than Bairstow in the England setup now (unless England plan to use Jonny as a keeper).

    In the CLT20 I think we acquitted ourselves pretty well without Bairstow, Bresnan, Miller, Pyrah (our top wicket taker in T20) and then losing Sidebottom and Ashraf to injury. We ended up with two bowlers that had never played T20 opening the bowling and bowling at the death.

  • Dummy4 on October 22, 2012, 15:28 GMT

    Ballance looks an excellent prospect.

  • Srinivas on October 22, 2012, 8:01 GMT

    To make the CLT20 a little credible than it is now. It is necessary to make atleast two of the IPL teams play the qualifiers and making it to the league stage. That way, IPL teams playing teams will end up with the necessary time in the field as a team post IPL. If they don't make it to the league stage, atleast better teams progress making CLT20 little interesting. Awarding direct entry to all the IPL teams is outrageous.

  • joseph on October 22, 2012, 3:32 GMT

    Had, Yorksire won any of the 1 match played so far, it would have been a competitive pool rather to watch 2 matches of no use.

  • Mark on October 21, 2012, 20:08 GMT

    Well done to all the Yorkshire lads. With players unavailable for a variety of reasons, some of which were due to other teams calling the shots, to just see our home grown team competing on this stage has been greatly enjoyable after a decade of T20 misery in our domestic tournament til 2012.

    Playing most games with no overseas player, two missing England players, new players not permitted to play as not registered for our t20 and now injuries, it's as well our last game is tomorrow or we may have ended up just being able to play a six a side match and then a single wicket competition.

    Good to see Rafiq, Ballance shine on the big stage and justify Lions call ups. Hodgson has kept tidily throughout and our lads will all come back the better for the experience.

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