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Yorkshire cricket season preview

Yorkshire's new season starts in earnest on Sunday, with their opening County Championship match against Somerset at Taunton.

Last summer was their first back in the top flight and they did well to finish second behind champions Durham, and despite the setback of losing England's Jonny Bairstow for the opening month after he broke a finger this week, many are tipping them to go one better this year.

Our sports correspondent John Shires assesses their prospects.

Moxon delighted to bring in Finch

Yorkshire have announced the signing of Australia batsman Aaron Finch.

The 27-year-old, who holds the world record for an international Twenty20 innings after smashing 156 against England last summer, will arrive as soon as his participation in the Indian Premier League ends in May.

Yorkshire's director of cricket Martyn Moxon is delighted to have secured Finch's services, with top-end talent at a premium this summer due to the elongated nature of the new T20 format:

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Gale plans to restore Root to head of innings

Yorkshire captain Andrew Gale intends to restore Joe Root to the head of the innings this summer after claiming England denied him a "fair run" as an opener.

Andrew Gale Credit: Press Association

Root has batted at every position in the top seven during his 15 games as a Test player, but has spent the majority of his county career as an opener.

He took that role during last summer's home Ashes but was moved to six and then three in the return series this winter, before being surprisingly dropped for the final match of the 5-0 whitewash.

Root will join the majority of his England colleagues in returning to county cricket early next season and Gale has promised to let him make his case against the new ball.

Joe Root Credit: Press Association

Yorkshire will be better served than most by the likely availability of England players at the start of the 2014 campaign, with Root, Gary Ballance, Jonny Bairstow and Tim Bresnan all looking to put their winter experiences behind them.

Meanwhile, Yorkshire director of cricket Martyn Moxon does not appear to be in the race to replace Andy Flower as boss of the national side.

Moxon is one of the best respected coaches on the domestic circuit and had been touted as a possible candidate as England's new team director, but is content with the White Rose.

Aaron Finch signs for Yorkshire

Yorkshire County Cricket Club have signed Australian international Aaron Finch.

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Finch, who's 27 and said to be one of the world's best one day batsmen, will join Yorkshire after his Indian Premier league commitments which are due to end in May.

yorkshireccc.com

He could be in line to make his debut for the Yorkshire Vikings against Northamptonshire Steelbacks on May 16th

Finch said: "It's a great honour to be joining Yorkshire County Cricket Club this summer. This is one of the biggest cricket clubs in the world."

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Gale signs new contract with Yorkshire

Andrew Gale Yorkshire County Cricket Club Credit: Yorkshire CCC

Yorkshire County Cricket Club's Andrew Gale has signed a one-year contract extension that keeps him at the club until December 2016 with an option of a further year for the top-order batsman.

Gale made his fist class debut in June 2004 against Somerset at Scarborough and in a career that spans over 10 years, he has played 111 first-class matches scoring over 6000 runs including a career best 272, which he notched up last year against Nottinghamshire at Scarborough.

"I am delighted to sign a contract extension with Yorkshire. Playing for Yorkshire has never been a job to me , but a passion. I could never see myself playing for anyone else. "

Andrew Gale, Yorkshire County Cricket Club

Yorkshire 2014 fixtures released

The Yorkshire Vikings' fixtures for 2014 have been released Credit: Press Association

The 128th Scarborough Cricket Festival starts with two 50-over matches – Essex Eagles face the Yorkshire Vikings on Monday August 11. Two days later Derbyshire Falcons are in town on Wednesday August 13.

The Festival week ends in style with a Championship match against Sussex Sharks commencing on Friday August 15.

During 2014, Yorkshire Vikings will have seven matches in the newly named NatWest T20 Blast. The season will run from May to August with the Vikings starting their campaign against reigning champions Northamptonshire Steelbacks at Headingley on Friday May 16.

Friday nights will become the norm for T20 cricket in 2014 with a further five fixtures taking place at Headingley on a Friday.

YCCC 2014 fixtures released

Yorkshire's first game at Headingley is against newly-promoted Northampton Credit: Press Association

Yorkshire County Cricket Club will start the new 2014 LV= County Championship with a trip to Somerset at Taunton on Sunday April 13 before the first game of the season against newly-promoted Northamptonshire at Headingley commencing Sunday April 20.

They follow with a Championship match against Middlesex at Lord’s on Sunday April 27 and commence the season at Headingley in a friendly against Leeds Bradford MCCU on Tuesday April 1 2014.

A series of matches against arch-rivals Lancashire start on Sunday May 25, when Lancashire travel to Headingley in the County Championship. The return fixture is at Emirates Old Trafford starting on Sunday August 31.

Yorkshire first travel to Emirates Old Trafford on Friday June 6 for a NatWest T20 Blast encounter with the return match taking place at Headingley on Friday June 27 2013. In the Royal London One-Day Cup, the new 50-over format, Yorkshire face Lancashire at Emirates Old Trafford on Saturday July 26.

Yorkshire start new season at Taunton

Action from Yorkshire's final County Championship match in 2013. Credit: John Walton/EMPICS Sport

Yorkshire will start the new 2014 LV= County Championship cricket season with a trip to Taunton to face Somerset on Sunday, April 13. The first home game is against newly-promoted Northamptonshire at Headingley, starting the following weekend on Sunday, April 20.

Five of Yorkshire Vikings' seven home games in the newly-named NatWest T20 Blast will be at Headingley on Friday nights, with the matches starting at 5pm.

Other highlights include the Roses Match against Lancashire in the County Championship, which starts at Headingley on Sunday, May 25.

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