Yorkshire are looking to add a Kolpak recruit to their 2012 squad in a further move away from the commitment shown to homegrown players last season.
It is understood that director of cricket Martyn Moxon and new coach Jason Gillespie have identified the need for another experienced international player to bolster the first-team squad and are scouring the market for potential pace bowlers, having already signed Australian batsman Phil Jaques as overseas player on a two-year deal.
Any such addition would complete off-field business at Headingley this winter, and represent a distinct sea change from 12 months ago when the club put their faith almost exclusively in locally-produced talent. Yorkshire were viewed as Division One title contenders back then but a season that began with them regularly fielding 10 players born within the county boundaries culminated in relegation.
Jaques, 32, will supplement a youthful batting unit that includes captain Andrew Gale, Joe Sayers, Adam Lyth, Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow – all of whom have represented England Lions or higher – and Gary Ballance. That sextet has an average age under 25, and Moxon was wary that his only seasoned batsman last season, 36-year-old Anthony McGrath, struggled for form and averaged just 21 in first-class cricket.
Jaques’ current 2011-12 campaign with New South Wales was delayed by a torn hip flexor and the death of his mother Mary but he struck a half-century in the win over Western Australia on his Sheffield Shield return. He is said to be driven by the challenge of gaining promotion with Yorkshire for a second time, having been on the stint on the playing staff in 2004-05.
Aside from former England left-armer Ryan Sidebottom, Yorkshire’s bowling stocks are also rather green, given that Tim Bresnan is expected to be missing on international duty for lengthy periods. So another senior seamer would take some of the load off Sidebottom, 34 in January.
David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd has been named as president of the thriving Spitfire Over-60 Inter County Competition.
“With senior participation at all major sports rapidly increasing, and the television companies taking an interest, it is fantastic for the 1,000+ Over-60 players playing in the competition to have such a famous person as their figurehead,” said chairman Martin Pearse, who also doubles as the captain of the England Over-60 team that retained the Ashes down under on November 27.
England, whose number also include Ray Swann, father of England off-spinner Graeme, took an unassailable 3-0 lead with a seven-wicket win over the Australians in Melbourne. The opening match of six 50-over contests was tied, with Swann contributing an unbeaten 40.
The wrinkly rivalry began earlier this year when England claimed a 2-0 series win on home soil and, after the third match was washed out, Australian captain John Bell barbecued a cricket ball, put the remnants in an urn to create their very own Ashes, and handed it over to opposite number Pearse.
“As someone with an acute sense of history, I wanted to create some history of my own,” said ex-Queensland player Bell.
Middlesex are confident their new training base at Radlett Cricket Club will be ready for the start of the 2012 season, having invested around £600,000 in upgrading facilities.
Last season’s Division Two champions will have something of a nomadic existence next summer with Lord’s, their traditional rented home, completely out of bounds for ten whole weeks due to England matches and the hosting of Olympic archery on the Nursery Ground.
So the Cobden Hill development, including new changing rooms, improved nets and a fitness suite will provide the Middlesex squad with an inkling of home as they return to the top-flight.
Former England all-rounder Dougie Brown has been named as one of the inaugural inductees to Scottish Cricket’s Hall of Fame.
Warwickshire coach Brown, 42, who spent the Nineties and Noughties as a player at Edgbaston appeared nine times for England in 1997-98 and then won a further 16 caps for his native Scotland.
“It’s a great honour to be in this first group of players inducted into the Hall of Fame and named alongside many great players to have represented Scotland, including John Kerr and Mike Denness,” said Stirling-born Brown.
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