England news June 17, 2010

Yardy keeps himself grounded

Michael Yardy was one of the more unlikely stars of England's victorious World Twenty20 campaign in West Indies. He hadn't been near the squad since July 2007, but Andy Flower was keen for a left-arm spinning option and the selectors turned to Yardy.

He only took four wickets, but the crucial part of his performances was an economy rate of 6.80 as the partnership with Graeme Swann strangled opposition during the middle overs. Now Yardy is in pole position to claim the second spinner's slot for next year's World Cup where pace off the ball will play as important a role as it did in West Indies.

But Yardy, who helped Sussex win their first five domestic Twenty20 matches this season, is refusing to look too far ahead and still finds it difficult to believe that he has a World Cup medal in his drawer.

"Three months ago it wasn't quite on my radar I have to admit," he said. "The Division Two Championship was more on the radar than that, but it was a special achievement and to have a winners medal is very special.

"Whether I'm being teed up or not [for the World Cup] the key thing is if I don't put in performances in the next few weeks because that can change quickly. It's dangerous to think too far ahead," he added. "If my game takes be to a World Cup then brilliant, if it doesn't I've had a great go at it and really enjoyed myself."

Only once was he really attacked during the World Twenty20, when Cameron White and David Hussey took 21 off his third over in the final, but he has no concerns about facing the same opposition next week and believes the experience has been a valuable learning curve.

"I've taken it into domestic Twenty20 cricket, especially my decision making," he said. "I have always prided myself on my decision making and I got a few things wrong there but you've always got to appreciate they are world-class players. One significant over in seven games is something to be quite happy with."

Yardy's role at international level is a peculiar one because in first-class cricket with Sussex he is a frontline batsman and occasional spinner who only took up slow bowling in 2005. However, put him in the limited-overs arena and his round-arm style becomes difficult to score off.

"People speak to me about not bowling in four-day cricket but I only started bowling spin in 2005," he said. "I lost those early years as a young professional to work on your skills so I have focused on one-day cricket.

"Hopefully if I play pitches will suit spin and no one is there just in a holding role. Swanny is an attacking spinner so the key thing is for me to do what I do and not pigeon hole myself in a certain role. I need to make sure I bat well also because if I play I think that will be an important part."

Andrew McGlashan is assistant editor of Cricinfo