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Phil Jaques in quest for t20 glory
11:03am Wednesday 4th July 2012 in Sport
Yorkshire and Phil Jaques are eyeing a place in the Twenty20 Champions League as their impressive run of form continues.
Having won five of their seven North Division matches, the White Rose county will seal a Friends Life t20 quarter-final berth with a win against Nottinghamshire under floodlights at Trent Bridge tomorrow (7pm start).
They would then earn a trip to South Africa between October 9 and 28 if they win two further knockout matches.
The two finalists of the English domestic competition will compete in a six-team qualifying event against teams such as Auckland and Trinidad & Tobago, with the top two then going through to the main draw to face teams from India, South Africa and Australia, including Mitchell Starc’s new Sydney Sixers franchise.
Jaques has never been to the Champions League before despite his former state New South Wales having qualified twice and won it once in 2009.
He played for the Blues in the 2011 Australian domestic final, losing against Adil Rashid’s South Australia side.
And, although his state earned qualification for last year’s Champions League, he was left out of the squad.
Jaques, 33, is therefore keen to make up for that disappointment with his Yorkshire team-mates this year.
“I’m desperate to have a go at that,” admitted the left-handed opener, who scored an important 40 off 28 balls in last Friday’s win over Roses rivals Lancashire at Headingley.
“It’s a great concept and obviously playing against the best Twenty20 sides in the world is something that we’re striving for, definitely.
“I’ve been involved in New South Wales sides that have won Big Bash tournaments and qualified for the Champions League, but I haven’t actually gone to one yet because Australian international players have come back and I’ve been the one to miss out.”
Only two of Yorkshire’s current squad have played in the Champions League.
Rashid featured just once for South Australia last year, while Starc played all five matches for New South Wales, taking four wickets.
Starc has been Yorkshire’s star man with the ball in the current t20 campaign, with the left-arm fast bowler taking 15 wickets from seven matches added to a stunning economy rate of 5.87 runs per over.
“Mitch is doing really well,” added compatriot and former state team-mate Jaques.
“He’s taking wickets regularly and keeping the runs down too.
“He’s obviously played at the top level. He’s played a bit of one-day cricket for Australia, and that’s going to stand him in good stead when he comes back and plays domestic cricket.
“He’s got all the tools. He’s a match-winner, and he’s great to have in your side.”
Yorkshire will hope to have England’s Jonny Bairstow available to them for tomorrow’s match and maybe even Friday’s Roses return against Lancashire at Old Trafford.
Bairstow has not been selected for any of his country’s one-day internationals against either the West Indies or Australia, and the England management have been releasing players back to their counties where possible.
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