Tim Bresnan battling to be fit for Yorkshire’s season opener
TIM BRESNAN is facing a race against time to be fit for the start of Yorkshire’s bid to win the County Championship.
The former England all-rounder has a back injury and is a doubt for the opening match against Notts at Trent Bridge a week today.
“He had some back discomfort in Potchefstroom (on Yorkshire’s pre-season tour),” said first XI coach Andrew Gale. “He then had a scan when he came back.
“It’s nothing too serious. He’s back bowling now. But we want to make sure that he’s pain free.
“Given the availability of our seamers at the minute, we don’t feel that we need to put him in a position to risk him where it could put him out for a longer period.
“He’s building up nicely. We’re not going to put a time on when he’s going to be fit, but he’s not far away.”
Yorkshire officially start their season on Sunday when they take on Leeds-Bradford MCCU in a three-day first-class contest at Weetwood.
Duanne Olivier, the South African pace bowler signed on a three-year Kolpak deal, will make his debut in a dress rehearsal for the Championship opener.
“Joe Root won’t be available, but we will be as close to our starting eleven as we can,” said Gale, with Root released by England to play in the first two Championship fixtures only.
“The lads have come back from South Africa in good form, and I want them to come out of that game (Leeds-Bradford) full of confidence.
“We won’t be treating it light-heartedly, that’s for sure.”
Yorkshire have never lost to Leeds-Bradford in 14 match-ups, winning six and drawing eight.
Last year’s scheduled fixture at Emerald Headingley was abandoned after the problems caused by the “Beast from the East”.
Adam Lyth, the Yorkshire left-hander, scored 194 when the sides last locked horns in 2017, and he goes into this game needing 142 to chalk-up the major milestone of 10,000 first-class runs.
Olivier needs one wicket for 400 in first-class contests, his victims having come at an average of under 22.
Olivier, 26, courted controversy for turning his back on international cricket with South Africa to come to England, particularly after taking 31 wickets in five Tests this winter.
Martyn Moxon, the Yorkshire director of cricket, believes that he will bring an X-factor quality to the Yorkshire attack.
“We’ve got a proven wicket-taker at the highest level and a bowler of genuine pace,” he said. “He will give us a different dimension for the coming season.
“He came under a lot of pressure from South Africa to stay, and for him to show commitment to Yorkshire given the position he was in shows his desire to play county cricket for Yorkshire.
“He’s a massively impressive young man who knows what he wants to get to.
“He’s put a lot on the line, and I’m sure the Yorkshire supporters will welcome him with open arms.”
Of Olivier’s ambition now to qualify to represent England, Moxon added: “He’s very clear on that.
“Whether the legislation and the process of becoming a British citizen will allow that, in the timescale that he’ll need, is a bit unclear.
“There are a number of hurdles he has to cross to be qualified to play for England, but he’s certainly coming here with the aim of trying to do everything he can to make sure that he does.
“He wouldn’t be the first. He’s doing nothing that others before him haven’t done or attempted to do.”
In addition to Bresnan, Yorkshire are without Matt Fisher, the 21-year-old pace bowler.
Having progressed well following a stress fracture of the back, Fisher now has a broken thumb and is three weeks away from a competitive return.
Left-arm spinner James Logan broke his thumb on the final day of the pre-season tour and is set to undergo surgery today. The 21-year-old, who made his debut in the final match of last season, could be sidelined for up to six weeks.
Yorkshire (from): Ballance, Brook, Coad, Kohler-Cadmore, Leaning, Lyth, Olivier, Patterson (captain), Pillans, Tattersall, Shaw, Waite, Warner.