Yorkshire set for T20 opener before locking horns with Roses rivals Lancashire

Alex Lees will lead a youthful-looking Yorkshire Vikings into Twenty20 action this summer, one that is expected to do better than the county has managed in recent seasons
Alex Lees will lead a youthful-looking Yorkshire Vikings into Twenty20 action this summer, one that is expected to do better than the county has managed in recent seasons

Once Yorkshire’s opening NatWest T20 Blast match against Leicestershire at Headingley tonight is all done and dusted they will briefly wipe white-ball cricket from their minds and concentrate exclusively on the Specsavers County Championship Roses clash which starts on the same ground on Sunday.

And the 256th encounter between the sides promises to be one of the keenest and hardest fought battles in recent years.

But first, Yorkshire Vikings will be going flat out to make a winning start to their T20 campaign by hunting down the Foxes who last week lost to Northamptonshire Steelbacks off the second last ball.

Vikings have a new young captain in Alex Lees who has taken over from Andrew Gale in one-day cricket and he will be relieved to welcome back fast bowling all-rounder, Tim Bresnan, for his seasonal debut.

Bresnan has now recovered from the calf muscle tear which he sustained on Yorkshire’s pre-season tour of the UAE and his wickets and runs have already been badly missed at Championship level.

Although Yorkshire will be without their England T20 star, David Willey, signed from Northamptonshire at the end of last season, there is better news on his abdominal strain which has responded well to treatment and he should be fit to return next Thursday for the game against Worcestershire Rapids at New Road.

Yorkshire’s preparations have been hindered to some extent by bad weather this week, but coach Jason Gillespie said: “We had a fantastic session on Tuesday and a practice game up at York.

“We missed out on a match at Harrogate because of the weather but we’ve done the work over the winter and leading up to this week so we are confident we are ready to go.

“We just want to get out there and play the best cricket we can and put on a show for the crowds.”

Yorkshire from: A Lees (captain), G Ballance, T Bresnan, K Carver, B Coad, A Hodd, J Leaning, A Lyth, S Patterson, L Plunkett, A Rashid, W Rhodes, J Wainman, M Waite.

Leicestershire from: M Pettini (captain), M Cosgrove, K O’Brien, U Akmal, N O’Brien, T Wells, N Dexter, R Taylor, B Raine, C McKay, J Naik, J. Sykes, L Hill.