AMID Yorkshire’s celebrations after LV= County Championship promotion and the impressive achievements of reaching a domestic Twenty20 final and the Champions League, one of the memorable images of 2012 saw Rich Pyrah batting with a broken hand.
Pyrah came out to bat with a plaster cast on his left hand during the opening week draw against Kent at Headingley in April in a failed bid to help his side avoid the follow-on after a fielding accident earlier in the match.
It was the start of a frustrating summer for the 30-year-old all-rounder, who was not allowed to build on a memorable campaign the year before in which he scored a maiden hundred and took the only five-wicket haul in his first-class career to date.
In all, he missed 12 Championship, eight Clydesdale Bank 40 and six Champions League matches due to the broken hand, a broken finger on the same hand later in the season and an eye infection to boot.
But now, well on his way back to full fitness, Pyrah is determined to make up for lost time in 2013.
“I felt as though I was pretty much at the top of my game going into last summer,” he admitted, having also taken advantage of time away from the game to have an operation to repair some damage to his right knee, first suffered when he dislocated it in a 40-over match at Kent during 2011.
“So, after the season before, to have such a frustrating summer and to not get the number of games in a row that I’d have liked was disappointing to say the least.
“It was extremely frustrating, especially seeing the lads going well in the Twenty20s in South Africa.
“I’d played in every game up to the Champions League and for the last four years.
“To miss out on that was devastating.
With no English teams going back for the next one, that makes it even worse really.
“Hopefully that’s all behind me now and I can get my place back for the start of the season and show the kind of form I did a couple of years ago.”
To be able to do that, however, will be easier said than done with competition for places within the White Rose squad now fierce following the arrivals of fellow all-rounder Liam Plunkett, above, and opening bowler Jack Brooks, above left.
“Strength in depth was something we struggled with last year due to a few injuries,” added Pyrah, who will return to match action during the county’s pre-season tour of Barbados through mid-March.
“We were short on a few bowlers, so it’s good to have that depth now.
“With the two new signings and the young lads putting themselves in the frame with some good performances in South Africa, you’ll have really deserved it if you get picked.
“You just have to look after yourself and make sure that you’re ready for when that chance comes along.”