Williamson might yet stay for whole Yorkshire campaign

Kane Williamson could stay with Yorkshire if Northern Districts don't qualify for the Champions League final stages

Kane Williamson could stay with Yorkshire if Northern Districts don't qualify for the Champions League final stages

First published in Sport by

NEW Zealand star Kane Williamson could still end the season with Yorkshire.

As things stand, the county's overseas batsman is set to miss the last two LV= County Championship matches against Nottinghamshire and Somerset and a potential Royal London One-Day Cup final due to commitments with Northern Districts.

Williamson's home team have qualified for the Champions League T20 in India next month and that takes precedence.

But the Knights, like Yorkshire were in 2012, have only been placed in the qualifying competition between Saturday, September 13 and Tuesday, September 16, so their involvement beyond is not guaranteed.

Only two of four from Northern Districts, Mumbai Indians, Lahore Lions and Southern Express advance to the main event, starting on Wednesday, September 17.

Should the Kiwis miss out, Williamson would in theory be free to play in a Lord's final on September 20, should Yorkshire advance, and the last Championship match against Somerset at Headingley three days later – a potential title decider.

However, New Zealand Cricket would still have to agree to the player's return to England because he is centrally contracted to them.

Should Yorkshire advance to the Royal London Cup semi-final on either September 4 or 6 – they have already secured a place in next week's quarter-final – Williamson is expected to be available.

But they are planning to be without him for all cricket beyond that and they are lobbying hard with the ECB to have England batting duo Gary Ballance and Joe Root available.

Yorkshire face Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl today (2pm) in their final one-day group match, knowing that a win will secure them a home quarter-final at Headingley next Tuesday or Thursday.

"It's important to keep our plans and pattern of play that we want to be doing in one-day cricket and keep that momentum going, which we've been doing well recently," said Williamson.

"Wherever we play (in the quarter-final) is not really on our minds. We just want to keep playing good cricket."

Yorkshire (v Hampshire) from: Gale (captain), Bairstow, Bresnan, Brooks, Fisher, Hodd, Leaning, Lees, Lyth, Patterson, Pyrah, Rashid, Williamson.

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