Crook says Steelbacks bowlers ready for challenge of stopping world number one Finch

THE WORLD'S BEST - Yorkshire's Australian import Aaron Finch
THE WORLD'S BEST - Yorkshire's Australian import Aaron Finch
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Steelbacks all-rounder Steven Crook says plans in place to try and get the better of the world’s number one Twenty20 batsman Aaron Finch at the County Ground tonight (Friday).

The big-hitting Australian is the ace in the pack of the Yorkshire Vikings batting that will take to the field against Northants in the NatWest T20 Blast at Wantage Road (start 6.30pm)

The Victorian, second only to the Steelbacks’ Richard Levi on the list of fastest international T20 centuries after a 47-ball effort against England at Southampton last summer, will spearhead the Vikings’ challenge at what is sure to be a packed County Ground.

Finch played a typically destructive hand in the Roses clash last Friday when he hammered 88 from just 55 balls to guide his side to victory over Lancashire, hitting five sixes and eight fours - and it is now up to the Steelbacks to try and stop him.

And Crook believes he and his fellow bowlers - who will include the fit-again David Willey - can do just that, although he admits it will be easier said than done.

“It’ll be a really good challenge for us,” said Crook.

“I think it’s important that we stick to what we’ve done over the past year or so and not try anything too different.

“Every team we come up against has got players who can hit you out of the park and Yorkshire are no different.

“We know that Finch is a dangerous player but, like everybody else, he’s got weaknesses and we’ve got to try to get him early.

“We’ve done our homework, we’ve studied their players, so we know that we will have done our preparation.”

Steelbacks go into the encounter with a record that shows two wins and one defeat from four outings with the game at Derbyshire abandoned.

Crook is satisfied with the start, but insists things can definitely get better.

“I think we’re pretty happy with how we’ve started but there are always areas where you can improve,” said Crook.

“It was a disappointing result at Worcester and we’ll be looking to bounce back from that.

“We’ll have had a couple of days of hard practice ahead of the game and we’ll be ready for them.”

Meanwhile, Vikings coach Jason Gillespie believes the signing of Finch could see Yorkshire become serious contenders for the T20 title this summer.

“Aaron showed exactly why we signed him with that great knock against Lancashire and now we want to go on a really good run in the competition,” said Gillespie.

“In the last couple of years, we haven’t quite had the starts we would have liked with the bat in T20, but Aaron batted brilliantly at the top of the order and hopefully that Roses win can be the catalyst for a sequence of good results.

“Aaron is an incredibly powerful player; he’s twice hit the ball over the East Stand at Headingley during practice and we’ve had to fetch the ball from across the road.

“Against Lancashire, he forced them to change their entire game plan because of the way he took on off-spinner Aaron Lilley, and there was a real calmness about our run-chase.”

The action at the County Ground tonight starts at 6.30pm.