T20 warning as Moxon welcomes Finch
Lancashire 87 for 2 (Horton 48*) v Yorkshire
Martyn Moxon, Yorkshire's director of cricket, believes the latest experiment of Friday night NatWest T20 Blast cricket cannot afford to fail in England as the county prepares to welcome their new overseas signing Aaron Finch, who arrives on Sunday evening to begin a two-month spell as the replacement for New Zealand's Kane Williamson.
Finch, the powerful limited overs specialist, will also play in the County Championship and is inked in for his T20 debut against Derbyshire at Headingley this Friday. The club's marketing department are hoping the "Finch factor" will help them attract more than the 5,500 present for their opening home match against defending champions Northamptonshire on May 16.
Finch, 27, returned modest form during his recent spell in the IPL with Hyderabad and was even dropped for their last match, will then play in Saturday's Championship match against Northants at Wantage Road.
Moxon saw rain wipe out all but 28 overs of the opening day of the Roses Championship match at Headingley and revealed that Finch turned down other offers from counties to play just T20 cricket in a bid to improve a lean first-class average which currently stands at 27.47 from 39 matches.
Lancashire, led by their dependable vice-captain and opener Paul Horton's 48 not out, reached close in reasonable health at 87 for 2, although they will be frustrated at losing Karl Brown lbw to Tim Bresnan in the day's penultimate over.
"We want the Friday nights to be a success - everybody does - because it's a big money spinner for clubs," Moxon said. "We can't really afford for it to fail quite frankly. If it fails on a Friday night, where do we go from here. The more big name players we can have here, the better.
"Aaron's an explosive batsman. He's the number one T20 international player in the world, so you can't get much better than that and we're all excited and looking forward to having him around. He's been checking how we've been going during the season and he's really looking forward to getting here as well.
"I guess he's been a little bit up and down as far as his runs scored are concerned. But, over the ten games he might play for us, if he can win us two or three then that's happy days.
"When you're looking for overseas players, you're looking for someone who can make a difference and can put in match-winning performances for you. If he bats for ten to 12 overs, you know you're going to get a decent score as long as people play well around him. I'm not expecting him to come and win every game for us, but I think he's capable of winning two, three or four games."
Moxon said the decision on whether Finch will open or bat in the middle order in their Championship team has yet to be made, although the likelihood is that it will be the latter. Not only will Yorkshire miss Williamson from the end of the Roses match due to New Zealand's tour of the West Indies, they are also having to cope without Gary Ballance due to England limited-overs duty.
"With Gary getting runs the other night, he's got to have a good chance I guess of being in the Test team," Moxon added. "You can pretty much write him and Rooty off I think. Tim Bresnan, I think they are wanting him to have more match overs. If he performs, I don't think he should be written off as far as England are concerned.
"There is potential for us to lose some more because, depending on how Matt Prior is, who knows with Jonny Bairstow. Liam Plunkett has been talked about too."
Yorkshire's pace attack was not at its best when play got underway at 4.45pm after Andrew Gale had won the toss before the rain arrived in the morning. Luis Reece, who shared 70 for the first wicket with Horton, hooked Plunkett to long-leg before Brown departed. Lancashire should have been three down at close when Plunkett had Horton, on 46, caught at third slip but the bowler had overstepped the popping crease.