Yardy measures up well
Michael Yardy claims he is living proof that the England Academy system can produce international cricketers.
The Sussex all-rounder, a largely unheralded county professional in the not too distant past, is now a valued member of the England one-day side, having spent time at the National Academy and represented England A.
He is one of seven players included in the 2005-06 Academy intake who will be involved with the senior England side this winter.
Chris Read, Ed Joyce, Jamie Dalrymple and Yardy make up a sizeable proportion of the 14-man ICC Champions Trophy squad, while Alastair Cook will feature in the Ashes and Sajid Mahmood and Liam Plunkett are involved in both.
“We’ve got a lot of guys here now who I was in the same intake with,” Yardy told ECBtv.
“There are six or seven of them, so there is a natural kind of progression - you put performances in for your county and hopefully you get international honours.
“It’s a good sign that you’re getting Academy players coming through.”
Few players have had as enjoyable season as Yardy this summer, his international call-up coming in between Sussex’s memorable C&G Trophy triumph and their crowning as Liverpool Victoria County Champions.
While his contributions with bat and ball were key to Sussex’s success in both competitions, and he admits he is proud to be part of the “legacy” that the current side have created, his most memorable moment came in England colours during the Twenty20 international against Pakistan at Bristol.
“Winning the championship at Trent Bridge - that was special - but, personally, getting my first international wicket stands out,” Yardy added.
“To get Mohammad Yousuf was one of those things where it’s a bit surreal.
“It just happens and then you think, ‘blimey, I’ve just got a wicket'. That was awesome.”
“Getting the opportunity to play for England is absolutely brilliant. It is a step up but I really enjoyed it.”
While Yardy’s experience at the Academy and England A helped smooth his passage into the senior side, he also admits to benefiting from playing on the biggest domestic stage with Sussex.
His resolute 37 helped Sussex recover from the depths of 78 for six to post 172 in the C&G Trophy final against Lancashire, which proved sufficient for a 15-run victory.
“The C&G final, in a funny sort of way, was perfect preparation for going to play for England because a few days after I played a Twenty20 international,” said Yardy.
“There was a full house at Lord’s - it just sets you up brilliantly and it’s huge occasion.
“There were a lot of butterflies but we came through it.”
Though Yardy cannot help but cast his mind back to the best summer of his career, he refuses to spend too much time planning ahead.
He added: “I just and just take each game as it comes and see where it gets me.
“If you look too far ahead, which I’ve done in the past, it’s going to come and bite you.
“Hopefully everything goes well this winter.
“I find international cricket quite intense, so I try to concentrate on the now instead of worrying about the future.
“A long-term goal is to play for the Test team - I’m desperate to play at any level - but I just have to keep working on my one-day game and keep developing.”