DIRECTOR of cricket Martyn Moxon has expressed his delight at the imminent return of Ajmal Shahzad for tonight’s Friends Life t20 hosting of arch rivals Lancashire – a game Moxon is dubbing the biggest of the competition so far.
The Tykes are seeking a quickfire t20 double over their Roses rivals having downed them in the last over at Old Trafford last week – a victory which propelled Yorkshire up the North Group table.
And now Moxon’s men will be further boosted by the return of fast-bowler Shazad from an ankle injury – the 25-year-old having not played for the Tykes since the County Championship draw at Sussex at the end of May.
Victory this evening could take Yorkshire into the all-important top four which grants progression to the quarter-finals and would also set the Tykes up perfectly for the County Championship clash at leaders Durham which begins tomorrow.
Having been rained off against Northamptonshire on Sunday in the t20, Yorkshire have not played since last Friday’s Old Trafford success but Moxon reports his men are as refreshed and raring to go – the director of cricket also thrilled at the prospect of Shahzad’s return.
“Shahzad will be available for selection, he’s back and has been practicing all week,” said Moxon.
“He comes back into the reckoning and that’s very pleasing as Ajmal – when he is fit – at his best he is an absolutely quality cricketer.
“He is a very good cricketer for us and we are glad that he is available for us.
“Everybody is in good shape. We have had a couple of days off and a couple of days’ practice now so everybody is refreshed and really looking forward to the game now.”
Tickets are still available for the encounter which begins at 5.40pm with Moxon admitting that if the rain holds off, tickets will sell out fast.
“I think the forecast is changing a little bit and they are not 100 per cent sure now how much it is going to rain,” he said.
“It’s a bit of a fingers crossed job isn’t it?
“I think if the weather’s good and the forecast is good it will be pretty full so hopefully the weather will be kind to us.”
Not in doubt, however, is the enormity of the fixture, Moxon citing the clash as Yorkshire’s biggest t20 game of 2011 yet – admitting his side are full of confidence after last week’s Old Trafford success but knowing full well that Lancashire will be eyeing a large slice of revenge.
“As far as the competition is concerned it’s the biggest game of the lot for us,” he said.
“A home game against Lancashire on a Friday night is the biggest game of the competition.
“It might not be the most important in terms of points and the tournament – we will see where we are later on – but as far as the crowd goes and the fact that it’s a Roses game, it’s the biggest game that we’ve had.
“Beating them last week was obviously good and having been beaten by them in the County Championship game, we wanted to try and get one back as it were.
“It was a very sweet victory for us but we know they are a good side and Friday is another day. We’ve got to try and do it again now.”