Richard Gibson: Yorkshire’s self help and the other Rashid

Yorkshire’s pre-season tour to Barbados is being funded by sponsors, including the ex-players’ association, as the Headingley purse strings tighten. More than half a dozen organisations have stumped up cash for the mid-March trip, which like other expenditure at the county, was under threat due to the club’s precarious financial position. Yorkshire, already £20million in debt, recently announced a further £2million loss for 2010 and made a raft of redundancies at Christmas. Last summer’s failed gamble on hosting the neutral Pakistan v Australia Test has increased reticence towards international cricket at one of England’s primary grounds but there has been impressive uptake for the sole international carded for 2011, a one-dayer against Sri Lanka in July, with 10,000 tickets already sold. Meanwhile, in a further cost-cutting exercise, chairman Colin Graves intends to double up as chief executive for the rest of the calendar year, with a new appointment expected in the early months of 2012.

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Amar Rashid, legspinning allrounder and elder brother of Yorkshire and England star Adil, will play for Shepley in the Huddersfield League this season after being snapped up from Yorkshire League club Rotherham. Despite being upstaged by his sibling, the 23-year-old remains intent on a first-class career and will continue to represent Leicestershire second XI in pursuit of his goal.

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International regulations allow Seren Waters to feature for Kenya freely without impacting on any ambitions the young Surrey batsman might develop of playing for England. Waters, 20, is the first Kenyan player of European descent to feature at a World Cup since Don Pringle turned out for East Africa in 1975. Incidentally, Don’s son Derek Pringle was asked to follow in his late father’s footsteps four years later, in the qualifying tournament, but East Africa’s request was rebuffed by the then Test and County Cricket Board, fearful of co-operation precluding him from England selection. Modern qualification rules mean players with dual claims can now switch from associate countries to full member nations overnight, although patriotic Kenyan Waters, an exceptional schoolboy talent with Cranleigh, would not apparently take any such decision lightly.

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Alex Loudon is on the verge of mass recognition given his reported relationship with soon-to-be-royal Kate Middleton’s sister Pippa. So let’s hope any appearance in front of the nation on April 29 will be more fulfilling than his last – his previous notoriety was to be run out without facing a ball in his only England appearance, against Sri Lanka in 2006. A surprise inclusion for the tour of Pakistan in 2005-06, former Kent and Warwickshire all-rounder Loudon retired at the age of 27 at the end of the 2007 season.

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There can be no doubt you’ve reached the twilight of your career when former team-mates’ sons start sharing your dressing room, and Jon Batty was given confirmation he has become an established member of the veteran category when Gloucestershire engaged two new batsmen this winter. Ian Cockbain, 24, was brought in from the MCC Young Cricketers and 18-year-old Michael Beard has joined the full-time staff after graduating through the club’s academy. Ian Cockbain senior was a colleague in the Minor Counties’ representative team of the mid-1990s while Michael’s father Steve played alongside Batty for Thame Town in Oxfordshire league cricket.

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