County news April 24, 2015

Middlebrook set for "surreal" Yorkshire return

ESPNcricinfo staff

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Yorkshire have signed James Middlebrook, the 37-year-old offspinner, to cover for Adil Rashid ahead of their Championship match with Warwickshire on Sunday.

Yorkshire asked England to release Rashid from their tour of the Caribbean but the request was denied with the legspinning allrounder in contention to play the third Test in Barbados on May 1.

Middlebrook, originally from Leeds, was released by Northamptonshire at the end of last season in a cost-cutting purge despite being one of their more effective players in a grim season.

He has been playing for New Farnley in the Bradford League and has been included in the 12-man squad for the match at Headingley starting on Sunday. Head coach Jason Gillespie said he was likely to play.

Middlebrook, who began his career at Yorkshire and last played for the White Rose In June 2001, described his unexpected comeback as "surreal".

Yorkshire feel they had fair reasons to request Rashid's return, believing that he has no prospect of playing in the third Test in Barbados and that he is being used as little more than a glorified net bowler on a tour that, improperly, clashes with the start of the England season. Their request has been criticised by the BBC's cricket correspondent, Jonathan Agnew.

"Karl Carver has been in our squad this season and we have been pleased with his development over the past 12 months," Gillespie said. "But at this point in time, we feel he is best served learning his trade in the second team.

"We felt that James could come in and do a job for us in the short-term. He is an experienced campaigner and knows the county system inside out. I expect him to do well for us and add to our squad in the short-tem."

Middlebrook added: "It has been surreal. I wasn't expecting a call to come and play first-class cricket again and to get the call from Yorkshire was a shock. It will be a big honour to walk out in front of the Yorkshire members on Sunday at Headingley."

"Yorkshire are a talented side with some great players. I'll do my job and hopefully help the lads get a win against Warwickshire."

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