Tykes include Bairstow and Williamson for Festival clash

Jonathan Bairstow of England & Yorkshire
Jonathan Bairstow of England & Yorkshire

Yorkshire face a tough selection headache ahead of tomorrow’s crucial LV County Championship clash with rivals Durham.

Jonny Bairstow is back after international duties with England, while Gary Ballance and Kane Williamson are also in contention as league leaders Yorkshire tackle second-placed Durham at North Marine Road.

Yorkshire cricket new signing Kane Williamson pictured on his first day at Headingley'pictured with head coach Jason Gillespie

Yorkshire cricket new signing Kane Williamson pictured on his first day at Headingley'pictured with head coach Jason Gillespie

Skipper Andrew Gale said: “It will be a tough selection.

“We have Gary Ballance back from England Lions duty and he is in a rich vein of form with the bat.

“We have Kane Williamson (pictured left with coach Jason Gillespie), our new overseas player, establishing himself in the squad and Johnny Bairstow is also available for the second successive match.

“That is the beauty of having a talented squad with everyone playing their part. It will be a difficult decision to leave someone out.

“The pressure will be on the players to perform and try and retain their place in the team.”

Gale knows this week’s clash could be pivotal in determining where the County Championship silverware heads come the end of the season.

He added: “We can’t afford to think that we have the title in the bag. There is still a quarter of the season left and a hell of a lot of cricket to be played.

“It can turn around very fast and the last thing we want is talking about winning titles.

“We are playing well at present and with a lot of confidence, but with some pivotal matches still to be played, all we can do is concentrate on each day. We will not be getting carried away with our status in the table.

“We are aware of the expectation levels surrounding the club and that is understandable. As a Yorkshire cricketer that comes with the territory and that’s what makes the Club special.

“The players have dealt with that really well. We are a grounded group and we are looking forward to the challenge. We relish the pressure and we won’t be taking a backward step.”

Yorkshire enjoy good results at North Marine Road more often than not, and Gale admits the squad love coming to the coast to play every year.

“It is always a great venue to play at and we have had some positive results at the ground in recent times. With it being Festival week, there will be a big crowd and with the added incentive of playing Durham, who are in second place, it will be extra special. The boys are very excited and it should be a terrific game.

“We are a well-supported county and having a passionate crowd in their big numbers will really give the team a boost.

“We know the atmosphere will be great. Members and players love either playing or watching at the venue and with the added incentive of cementing our place at the top of the league, the crowd can play a major part.”

Yorkshire have been in great form in the four-day format this season, and the skipper hopes that will continue at the 127th Scarborough Cricket Festival this week.

“We are playing some positive cricket and to go to Trent Bridge and win within three days was a great result for us. The guys put in a fantastic effort and even though we are clear at the top of the table, we know there is a lot of cricket to be played. We are excited about what the next five weeks hold and it should be an interesting end to the season.

“It’s quite simple, we are nailing the basics. There is no hidden formula at maintaining our performances. All we do is perform the basics better than the opposition for a longer period of time. We try and keep things simple and everyone in the squad is comfortable with their responsibilities.

“It is all about putting the ball in good areas. If you do that you will get the rewards. From a batting point of view, we are making big scores and everyone is contributing with the bat and we are building strong partnerships throughout our innings.”

Gates open at Scarbororugh at 9.30am on Wednesday morning for members and from 10.00am for the general public.

Tickets will be available on the day priced £15 adults and £10 concessions.

Yorkshire 14-man squad to face Durham at Scarborough: Johnny Bairstow, Gary Ballance, Jack Brooks, Andrew Gale ©, Andrew Hodd, Phil Jaques, Alex Lees, Adam Lyth, Steven Patterson, Liam Plunkett, Richard Pyrah, Adil Rashid, Ryan Sidebottom, Kane Williamson.