England news April 26, 2011

Yardy close to first-class return

ESPNcricinfo staff

Michael Yardy, the Sussex and England allrounder, is on course to resume his first-class career after a battle with depression, after taking part in his first county team training session on Monday.

Yardy withdrew from England's World Cup campaign before the quarter-final loss to Sri Lanka in Colombo, stating he needed to return home because "I felt that it was the only sensible option for me and I wanted to be honest about the reason behind that decision". His difficulties reflected the internal pressures and heavy travel inherent to international cricket in the 21st century, but some time at home with his family appears to have done plenty of good.

While it is thought too soon for Yardy to resume for Sussex in the match against Lancashire from Tuesday, it is now possible he may return to the team against Hampshire next week.

"He is going well. Every week he has practised more. The first time he came in once and last week he came in three times and this week he was in every day, including Saturday, and so he is getting close," Sussex coach Mark Robinson told the Daily Telegraph. "I think this week will be too early. Whether he is in a situation to play the week after we will just have to wait and see. At the moment he hasn't practised with the group but he is due to on Monday.

"We would love to have him back because he is a quality player and he gives character and backbone for a team that has that anyway but he has got experience and so we miss him, of course we do. But it is just like anybody being injured. You have to give them time to heal properly and what you don't want to do is rush them back so that they have a recurrence of the injury. It's the same for Yards.

"So we have just got to keep talking to him and keep giving him time. He is increasingly his workload and he is doing more and more as he feels stronger and more able to do it."

England's punishing schedule over the winter of 2010-11 has caused plenty of pause at the ECB, which has resolved to never again consent to an Ashes tour followed immediately by a World Cup. Opening batsman Alastair Cook has added heat to the issue by mentioning the possibility of a player strike if the problems of the international schedule are not properly addressed.