COMEBACK kid Joe Sayers is confident he will be ready for Yorkshire’s start to the LV County Championship campaign after overcoming a nightmare illness.
The Leeds-born opener, inset, was wiped out – quite literally – by a debilitating condition called Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome (PVFS) for most of last term, with his last game being way back at the end of June.
The illness left him so tired he could barely walk up a flight of stairs, but the 27-year-old is now thankfully fully recovered and could be in the reckoning for the Tykes’ first-class opener at Worcestershire on April 8.
Sayers proved his fitness during club tests yesterday and will head to the Caribbean on March 13 with his team-mates for Yorkshire’s pre-season tour, with the aim of bolstering his match sharpness.
Sayers said: “I’m close to full fitness, I’d say. My fitness results have come through really well and I’ve probably surprised a few and it’s a good sign and it looks like I’m going to be ready for April 8.
“I’m really looking forward to this summer more than any other that’s gone before. It was June 27 when I pulled out of the game at Old Trafford – a long time ago – and I’m just glad to be back hitting the ball and with the squad.
“It would be silly of me to put too many objective targets out for the summer. This year is about appreciating and enjoying my cricket, which I didn’t have last year.
“It’s really put things in perspective for me. I’m proud to be stood here in the position where I am, having gone through a fitness test when a few months ago, I couldn’t walk up the stairs. It’s a long way from that.”
Sayers and his team-mates have dipped into their own pockets to head away on a 12-day pre-season tour ahead of next’s month first-class start – doing their bit to ease the county’s financial situation.
A 16-strong playing party, with additional staff, are paying half the costs of the trip to Barbados and Sayers says he and his team-mates were united in their decision to financially contribute.
He added: “Clearly, the club is in a financially difficult position at the moment. The proposals were put to the players that we could go on pre-season tour if we were willing to take some of the investment ourselves and it was unanimous really.
“It was a no-brainer. It was an investment in our season, careers and the club itself.
“We’re in a situation where everyone has to pull together and be as strong as possible through the financial difficulties and this was a really good way of doing that.
“Making this statement has brought us together in a way. It’s a group decision; everyone is in it together. I don’t think we’re as naïve to suggest what happens off the field and in the office and behind the scenes doesn’t affect us as it does.”
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