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Four-day focus for t20 trophy-chasers Yorkshire
Yorkshire know they must put their heroics in Twenty20 to one side during the next nine days and focus all their attentions on the LV= County Championship if they are to avoid a sticky end to the season.
A place at the Friends Life t20 Finals Day in Cardiff on Saturday, August 25 may be secured, with a semi-final tie against Sussex to look forward to.
But they still have work to do to finish in the top two of the Championship’s division two and seal promotion, an aim which they put above everything else at the start of the summer.
Andrew Gale’s side head into today’s clash with bottom side Leicestershire at Grace Road with no need to panic just yet.
One of only three unbeaten teams in the country and third in the table, they are three points behind second-placed Hampshire and 25 points behind leaders Derbyshire with them still to visit Headingley next month as one of their remaining six matches.
Kent, however, are hovering dangerously in fourth, two points behind Yorkshire having played one less than each of division two’s top three.
After the Leicestershire clash, Yorkshire travel to Wantage Road to face Northamptonshire, starting on Wednesday.
The White Rose’s situation has not been helped by losing 1,672 overs this season due to weather, which equates to 104-and-a-half hours of play.
“Every game is crucial now because the competition is so close,” said opener Phil Jaques.
“Any win can catapult you up the table and set you up for promotion.
“Derby have had the head start by getting some early wins on the board, and everyone’s chasing them.
“If someone gets on a run, they’ll get promoted. That’s why these two games are so important.”
Captain Gale returns to a 13-man squad following his hip injury.
His last Championship match was against Glamorgan at Colwyn Bay between June 6 and 9, although his last innings was in the match against Northants at Leeds between May 30 and June 2.
“We set out at the start of the season with the main target of getting out the second division, and nothing’s changed,” said Gale.
“We’ve played some good cricket in the Twenty20, but these next two weeks of Championship cricket are massive for us.
“It’s nice to get to Finals Day, and we want to go and win it now that we’re there. But I’m sure some people would see it as a disappointing season if we don’t get out of the second division.”
Meanwhile, Twenty20 overseas star David Miller is remaining with Yorkshire until he links up with South Africa’s ‘A’ squad ahead of their one-day tour of Ireland, starting on Sunday, August 19.
The left-hander will play second-team cricket, and he could even play in their 40-over matches against Warwickshire, Northants and the Unicorns on August 7, 9 and 12 now that Mitchell Starc is no longer with the club.
Miller will then return from South Africa ‘A’ duty for Finals Day.
• Yorkshire’s Friends Life t20 semi-final tie against Sussex will take place at 11am on August 25 at Cardiff. Somerset v Hampshire starts at 2.30pm and the final is at 6.45pm.
Squad (v Leicestershire): Gale, Lyth, Root, Jaques, Bairstow, Ballance, McGrath, Pyrah, Rafiq, Rashid, Harmison, Patterson, Ashraf.