Yorkshire remain focused despite Flintoff ‘sideshow’

Andrew Flintoff
Andrew Flintoff
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andrew gale admits he will give his Yorkshire Vikings side a timely reminder ahead of tonight’s mouth-watering televised Roses clash at Lancashire Lightning – and it will have nothing to do with last season’s Twenty20 drubbing.

The Yorkshire captain says he and his team are preparing to run the gauntlet in tonight’s NatWest T20 Blast encounter with the old enemy at a packed Old Trafford (5.30pm).

But he insists he won’t be rewinding the clock to what happened in the competition in front of the cameras in Manchester last July when Yorkshire were beaten heavily by eight wickets to follow on from a dramatic tied game at Leeds.

Instead, Gale will be reminding his side about something else, their comprehensive eight-wicket victory over Derbyshire Falcons last Friday which he hopes will be the precursor to a victory trail in the competition.

Gale, whose win was orchestrated by an impressive maiden t20 half-century by in-form Alex Lees, said: “Last season, we got a hiding in t20 there and didn’t perform very well.

“I won’t have to remind the lads, but will remind them of the confidence we went about things last Friday.

“We must go with the confidence we got against Derbyshire when we performed well.

“I knew before the start of that t20 game that it was going to be the start of a big week for us and so far, we’ve got two out of three and hopefully will get three out of three.

“I’ve had mixed games there in the past, some real tight finishes in which we have done well and walked off to a silenced home crowd.

“But there’s also been games where they have beaten us comprehensively.

“It will be a massive game for both sides. It could attract the biggest domestic attendance of the season. The atmosphere at Old Trafford will be brilliant.

“No doubt most of the crowd will be giving us a bit of stick. That’s all part of these games and something that we will relish.

“Lancashire have started well in the competition with four wins from their first five matches and have momentum.

“Our start has been a little disjointed with only two games and one washout. We’ll be up for it and we can go there and win if we play to our full potential.”

One player Yorkshire won’t be facing tonight is Andrew Flintoff, something the vast majority of the parochial home crowd will have been hoping for following his return to the Lancashire fold.

The former Ashes hero and England skipper turned media celebrity, now 36, warmed up for tonight’s game by claiming two wickets and making 16 runs in his first match in Lancashire colours for five years when he appeared for the county’s seconds in their T20 finals day at Arundel.

But the game comes too early for the Preston-born all-rounder tonight, not that Gale and Yorkshire paid much attention to the hype and hullabaloo anyway.

Gale said: “As a cricket supporter, you want to see him out there on the pitch. But as Yorkshire captain going there, I was not really fussed.

It’s about how we perform and getting a result. Whether he was playing or not was irrelevant really.”

Tim Bresnan returns to replace Test call-up Liam Plunkett, while fellow seamer Ryan Sidebottom is still recovering from a hamstring problem and will miss the game.

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