Yorkshire Vikings v Birmingham Bears: Vikings show too little, too late as Maxwell takes his punishment

THEY call him “The Big Show”, but Glenn Maxwell was more of a no-show for Yorkshire in T20 cricket.

By Chris Waters at Headingley
Saturday, 25th July 2015, 12:05 am
Yorkshire Vikings' Alex Lees on his way to 68 against Birmingham Bears. Picture: Anna Gowthorpe
Yorkshire Vikings' Alex Lees on his way to 68 against Birmingham Bears. Picture: Anna Gowthorpe

That was literally the case last night, when the Australian – who managed just 229 runs in 12 T20 games at an average of 20 – was left out of the club’s final group match for what the club described as “unprofessional behaviour”.

Maxwell, 26, is understood to have turned up late for the final day of Yorkshire’s Second XI Championship game against Warwickshire at Harrogate on Wednesday – not so much “The Big Show”, indeed, as “The Late Show”.

As with Liam Plunkett, the England pace bowler dropped earlier in the summer for missing a training session and team photo call, the message was clear – if a player steps out of line, his reputation counts for nothing.

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After his side ended their T20 campaign on an unlikely high, beating leaders Birmingham by eight wickets, first team coach Jason Gillespie explained: “We left Glenn out for a lack of professionalism.

“I don’t want to go into any details – it was unprofessional behaviour and a very similar situation to Pudsey (Plunkett).

“As far as I’m concerned, the matter has been dealt with and it’s now a clean slate.

“Glenn is very remorseful, very sorry, and I’m sure he’ll learn from it.”

Gillespie’s willingness to let bygones be bygones is highlighted by Maxwell’s inclusion in a 15-man squad for Yorkshire’s opening Royal London One-Day Cup match against Gloucestershire at Scarborough tomorrow.

Although last night’s fixture was the proverbial dead game, with Birmingham having already booked their place in the T20 knockout stages for which Yorkshire were unable to qualify, the hosts warmed up for the 50-over event with a morale-boosting performance.

After losing the toss, Yorkshire dismissed Birmingham for 145, Will Rhodes taking 3-27, and then eased home with three balls to spare, Alex Lees scoring 63 and Jack Leaning impressing once again with 60 not out, his maiden T20 half-century.

It was a tantalising glimpse of what might have been and, considering that Gillespie had branded the club’s T20 season “unacceptable” going into the game, what should have been too.

In front of a crowd of 6,908, Yorkshire started the match in a manner that must have left their supporters wondering why they could have not started so well more often.

After four overs, Birmingham were 16-2, and danger-man Brendon McCullum, the New Zealand captain, was back in the dug-out.

The visitors had lost Tom Lewis to the fourth ball of the match, the left-hander skying Plunkett to Leaning at cover, who practically had time to re-tie his shoelaces before judging the steepling chance to perfection.

And McCullum fell to the 11th ball when he was bowled trying to smash Matthew Fisher into the middle of next week, having managed only six runs – a maximum off Fisher over long-on – from six deliveries.

Lees, standing in as captain for the rested Andrew Gale, bowled Plunkett out from the start, the pace bowler returning impressive figures of 4-1-20-1.

There was a little bit in the pitch - just enough to prevent batsmen from timing the ball with absolute comfort - and Yorkshire, for the most part, bowled with discipline.

Ben Coad, the 21-year-old pace bowler playing only his second T20 game, followed Plunkett’s lead with a fine spell, which included the third and fourth wickets as Tim Ambrose was caught behind and Rikki Clarke held at cover off a leading edge.

Rich Pyrah, who replaced Maxwell, had Chris Woakes caught at cover by Fisher before Rhodes had Laurie Evans held behind, Pyrah then removing Jeetan Patel with the aid of a catch by Leaning at deep mid-wicket to leave Birmingham 101-7 with five overs left.

Yorkshire’s bowling at the death has been a problem this summer, but not so last night.

Rhodes took two wickets in five balls as Recordo Gordon skied to Ryan Gibson at deep mid-wicket and Oliver Hannon-Dalby was bowled.

Fisher finished proceedings by having Ateeq Javid caught by Lees at cover, with Yorkshire’s catching excellent throughout.

There was plenty of energy in the field too as a largely young side threw themselves eagerly into the fray.

Rhodes fell early in the reply, chipping Rikki Clarke to mid-on, but Lees and Leaning batted with great composure in a second-wicket stand of 104 in 12.4 overs.

The pair picked off boundaries when they were available but did not over-force the issue on a night when there was no panicking among the top-order.

Lees reached fifty off 38 balls with seven boundaries, Leaning following him to that mark from 41 deliveries with four fours and a six.

Lees was trapped lbw by Patel with 26 still needed, but Leaning and Andrew Hodd saw Yorkshire to a win that left the club with a final T20 record this summer of five victories, eight defeats and a tie.