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Yorkshire's Phil Jaques aiming to erase memory of fleeting South African trip
Phil Jaques has only been to South Africa once before. It was a fleeting visit.
Called up as a replacement for Australian captain Ricky Ponting during a one-day international series in March 2006, he flew in the day before the second of five matches, played in the match under the influence of jet-lag and posted a four-ball duck.
He was dropped from the next match and flew home to play for New South Wales having been jettisoned from the squad.
Needless to say, he is hoping for better luck during his second visit to the Rainbow Nation with Yorkshire for the forthcoming Champions League t20 competition, starting on Tuesday.
Jaques linked up with the rest of the White Rose squad in Johannesburg earlier this week after flying home to Sydney following the end of the county season last month.
He enjoyed some time with his family, but also scored a hundred in grade cricket for the Sutherland club last weekend as they got their season off to a winning start.
“I think it’s going to be a fantastic tournament and a great experience for everyone,” said the 33-year-old left-hander, who will almost certainly line up in tomorrow’s warm-up match against Sialkot Stallions at the Wanderers.
“All the boys are looking forward to taking this as deep as we can and playing a big part in the tournament.
“We’ve shown how good a side we can be in Twenty20 cricket, how good a fielding side we are especially.
“We’re a good side all around the park, so hopefully we can carry that on.”
Yorkshire may have to win both games against Uva Next and Trinidad and Tobago to qualify into Group ‘B’ of the main draw, and being placed in the qualifying competition automatically puts them at a disadvantage when looking to lift the trophy.
“We could see it as a disadvantage having to play these extra games, but it could be an advantage because we’ll get more practice,” reasoned Jaques.
“Some of the players in the main tournament will not have played too much – bar the World Cup I suppose – because they’ll have come from off seasons.
“If we can get off and running and get the confidence up, that could make us a very dangerous team.”
It has been well documented that Yorkshire will be without Jonny Bairstow and Tim Bresnan completely and David Miller for the majority of this competition, which significantly weakens their middle order.
Adam Lyth will get the opportunity to stake a claim against the Pakistanis tomorrow, while playing two spinners in Azeem Rafiq and Adil Rashid would strengthen the batting too.
“I’m not really sure how we’re going to go about it. Lythy will obviously come in as the next batter in the squad,” added Jaques. “But we’ve got a good squad, and we’ll be ready to go.
“Whatever we do, it’s important to make sure we’re attacking the spin in that middle period. That’s what we did so well in the domestic competition. We dominated the spin in the middle and had momentum leading into the death.”
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