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16th-20th May: 1st Test, Lord's
The latest edition of the Friends Life t20 is a landmark for the tournament that gave Twenty20 cricket to the world. Launched in 2003, it is now celebrating its tenth birthday and Yorkshire begin their campaign against Durham on Friday (15th June).
Yorkshire have a mixed Twenty20 record, twice reaching the quarter-finals but going no further. In a bid to make this year different, they are making sure they are fully prepared.
Lead strength and conditioning coach Tom Summers has been busy putting the squad through their paces, highlighting the need for the players to be able to switch quickly from the endurance-based Championship cricket to high intensity Twenty20 cricket.
"The challenge you've got in county cricket is that when you're playing so many matches on the bounce to get preparation for a high intensity powerful game like T20, doesn't always fit necessarily into your day to day championship plans," he said.
"They're raring to go and looking forward to T20 and showing what they can do in the one-day format as well."
Speaking to the players, the optimistic mood is clearly discernible. After all, they enjoyed a successful pre-season trip to the Caribbean where they won the Twenty20 contest in Barbados. Their form in Championship and CB40 cricket has been strong and although that is no guarantee of success in the shortest form of the game, confidence is high.
Young fast bowler Moin Ashraf is the latest in an exciting line of quick men to grace Headingley’s turf. In recent years, the White Rose county have produced several England internationals including Darren Gough, Matthew Hoggard and latterly Tim Bresnan and Ashraf will no doubt aim to follow in such illustrious footsteps.
For now, he is focussing on getting his plans right and sticking to them when the lure of Twenty20 cricket brings the crowds to Leeds.
"We're very optimistic going into the T20 campaign, but were also very humble. We understand that we have to perform our skills well," he said.
"I think it's just a matter of going out there and expressing ourselves and nailing our skills we've practiced over the last few weeks.
"Hopefully we can carry that momentum we've gained from the Championship and the Pro 40 format into the T20 stuff. (We need to) make sure we’re switched on and concentrated for this short period of time and make sure we are powerful and ready for what's ahead."
Power. A key requirement for success in Twenty20 cricket and with that in mind, Yorkshire have boosted their squad with the signing of South African batsman David Miller. The left-hander, who may well be involved in his country's limited overs series in England later this year, has played 16 One-Day Internationals and eight Twenty20 Internationals for the Proteas.
"It definitely adds a bit of firepower to our hitting," Ashraf added. "With the addition of Miller and obviously Mitchell Starc who adds firepower to our bowling, we should have a cracking line-up."
Another man likely to feature heavily in that line-up is all-rounder Richard Pyrah, who has become something of a Twenty20 star for Yorkshire. He boasts an impressive record of 312 runs and 64 wickets at an economy rate of 7.46 in 62 matches for Yorkshire.
"We have struggled of late in T20, but we've got the players for it. We have some new plans this year with new people in charge, so there is something exciting around the place," he said.
"We've played some good cricket so far this year hopefully we can carry it on into the T20 now."
He has his sights set on making history with Yorkshire and taking them to Finals Day for the first time.
"When I was growing up I played a lot of one-day cricket before Championship cricket, which obviously helped me, but I've been working on my skills and Twenty20 suits my game because I bat, bowl and field.
"If you do that in T20 cricket it does suit you. I've done well in the past so hopefully I can have another good year and get us towards the final."
Can they do it? Only time will tell and a good start to their campaign - against a Durham side missing Paul Collingwood due to injury - might just give them the boost they need.
One thing is for sure, with Summers working alongside Multipower - the official nutrition sponsor to Yorkshire CCC, the team will be in tip-top shape.
He adds: "They can change formats and disciplines overnight, because that's what we have been conditioning them for. So they're strong enough to handle T20 even if they've been playing six weeks of championship, which we have.
Asked whether he believes they can win the competition, he says: "We showed in Barbados in pre-season that we were the team to beat winning the T20 competition in the West Indies. If we can take that intensity and ruthlessness into this campaign then absolutely.
"Jason Gillespie as first-team coach brings huge international experience along with Paul Farbrace who is experienced as well.
"The guys have got the best coaches behind them, it's now a case of going out and showcasing what they can do on an individual skill level."
Tom Summers, Moin Ashraf and Richard Pyrah were talking to Cricket World following Twenty20 training in association with Multipower Sportsfood - the official nutrition sponsor to Yorkshire CCC. Visit www.multipower.co.uk
© Cricket World 2012
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