LOCKIE Ferguson admits to already being wowed by the Yorkshire faithful. Now he is aiming to give them a similar feeling via his performances in the Vitality Blast, which starts tonight at Emerald Headingley.

The New Zealand fast bowler is set to debut as an overseas player for the Vikings when Birmingham Bears visit for the 2021 North Group opener (6.30pm).

A sell-out crowd will watch the Kiwi and fellow international stars Jonny Bairstow, Adil Rashid and Dawid Malan don the White Rose.

It will be only be Ferguson’s second appearance at Headingley, having previously represented Derbyshire in 2018, taking three wickets in a Blast victory.

“The crowd, when I played here for Derby, certainly wasn’t shy to have a few words when I was on the boundary,” laughed the 29-year-old.

“I might have got stitched up a bit.

“It was the West Stand and they said, ‘Oh, Lockie, you have a good arm, we need you on the boundary’.

“I certainly found some close friends out there who gave me some stick. But it was all for the love of the game.”

Talking about love for the game, that brings us to the story of the White Rose supporters, which really did impress the Auckland native.

He said: “I did hear the cool thing about fans not being able to get in to watch games but they still bought their season tickets to support the club.

“I think that’s amazing.

“To not be able to go and watch them in person, but obviously they are very close to the club and want to leave their money in to make sure they are sound for the years going forwards.

“That kind of stuff is pretty epic.”

When speaking to the media about his move to Headingley, Ferguson was asked how big a difference crowds can make to a team’s performance following the long period without them inside English grounds.

He continued: “It makes a massive difference, particularly for the home team, playing in front of those supporters.

“In New Zealand, we were very fortunate that we could have fans in for most of the games, but playing in the IPL for the last two series we obviously had no fans. It’s just a different feeling.

“That one game I played here, there were a lot of songs sung supporting the home team. To get that behind you, it goes a long way.”

Ferguson, capped 51 times by his country across all formats, says there was no hesitation in making his decision when Yorkshire came calling for this year’s Blast.

“When Yorkshire come knocking to play for them, it’s always a yes,” he said.

“They are a county with a great history and lineage of great players.

“I love playing in the UK. From New Zealand’s point of view, in terms of domestic cricket, county cricket is seen as the pinnacle.

“Also, I haven’t played a huge amount of cricket this year having had a bit of an injury with my back.

“I only played a couple of games for the Black Caps before I went to the IPL and carried the drinks for the whole time there.

“It’s certainly nice to be here in sunny Leeds looking forward to game one.

“It’s also nice when one of my good mates (Finn Allen) is playing for Lancashire just down the road. I’m sure there will be some competition between us playing for each side of the Roses.”

Ferguson arrived in England last week and, after completing two days of isolation, joined his new team-mates during the latter stages of the Championship win over Sussex.

He bowled in the middle at lunch, and watched on as fixated on Sunday as Dom Bess, David Willey and Steve Patterson bowled Yorkshire to victory.

“All the Yorkshire boys are great blokes, easy going, and they’ve made me feel very welcome,” he continued. “But they are fierce competitors, as we saw at the weekend.

“I’m really looking forward to getting out on the park with them.

“Hopefully, I’ll get to know them more as the tournament goes on and we’ll celebrate a few wins together.”

Not surprisingly, Ferguson is confident of success both personally and team wise.

He trained with the squad at the start of the week.

“It’s been pretty awesome at training with some stars on show,” he added. “And there were some big bombs being hit from the range-hitting area.

“I hit a couple myself, so hopefully I get up a couple of slots in the line-up. But I don’t like my chances with the team we have.

“There is a huge amount of seniority and experience in there.

“When things change so quickly in T20 cricket, you sort of rely on those guys to keep it calm and be rational about what options are best.

“I’m very excited to be part of a fantastic county with a huge amount of history and success, and hopefully we can add to that.”

Yorkshire are set to field a strong squad this evening, with England internationals Adil Rashid, Jonny Bairstow and the number one ranked T20 batsman Dawid Malan all in the squad for the White Rose.


Jonny Bairstow (Wicketkeeper)

Harry Brook

Lockie Ferguson

Will Fraine

George Hill

Tom Kohler-Cadmore

Adam Lyth

Dawid Malan

Duanne Olivier

Adil Rashid

Jack Shutt

Jordan Thompson

Matthew Waite

David Willey (Captain)