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Rich Pyrah returns for Yorkshire's t20 match against Durham
Fit-again all-rounder Rich Pyrah has urged his Yorkshire team-mates to avoid the sluggish start of previous seasons as they bid for Friends Life t20 glory.
Pyrah will make his first-team return from the broken hand he suffered during the first week of the summer when the White Rose tackle Durham at Headingley tonight (5.40pm).
Yorkshire’s struggles in Twenty20 cricket have been well documented, with them rarely having gained a foothold in the competition.
But, with tonight’s clash the first of three North Division fixtures in four days, they have a chance to do just that.
Yorkshire, who lost five of their first nine last year, also face Leicestershire at Headingley on Sunday before heading to face Derbyshire under lights and in front of the TV cameras at the County Ground on Monday.
“We’ve always started very slow in this competition, and we’ve always been fighting back. It’s important that we start strong,” said a confident Pyrah.
“We’ve got a good squad. Competition for places is high, and you’re going to have to perform.
“We’ve got different plans this year, we’ve got specific plans. Every player knows what they’re doing. The best thing of all, we’ve had a week off to be able to work on those plans. The change has been very good, and I think you’ll see some exciting cricket this year.
“We’ve been excited about Twenty20 for the last few years, but we just haven’t performed. It’s about time we did that.”
Pyrah’s comments about competition for places is highlighted by tonight’s 14-man squad. There is no Joe Sayers, the club’s vice-captain who played an integral part in their pre-season 20-over plans, or in-form Anthony McGrath.
Included is new overseas recruit, South African batsman David Miller, who is pictured above.
It is ten weeks since Pyrah suffered his injury against Kent.
He has been playing second-team cricket sporadically for the last three weeks, but admitted: “I could have actually been back a bit earlier, but the way the weather’s been means that I haven’t had too much second-team cricket.
“It’s been a frustrating time for me. I couldn’t have timed the injury any worse after missing Barbados (due to the birth of twins), but it’s good to be back.
“I’m determined to make up for lost time during the second half of the season, starting with Twenty20. It’s a competition that’s gone pretty well for me over the last four or five years, so it’s important I keep performing and improving.”
Yorkshire squad: Gale, Ashraf, Ballance, Brophy, Jaques, Lyth, Miller, Pyrah, Rafiq, Rashid, Root, Sidebottom, Starc, Wardlaw.