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Monday, May 2, 2011

England all-rounder and Sussex captain Mike Yardy makes low-key return after treatment for depression

Mike Yardy made his return to competitive cricket on Monday but it could be some time before the England all-rounder is playing on a regular basis again.
Nearly six weeks after he withdrew from England’s World Cup squad in India to receive treatment for depression and two months since his last game against South Africa in Chennai, the 30 year-old made a low-key return as he led Sussex to a five-wicket victory in a Clydesdale Bank 40 game against Holland at Hove.
Yardy took one for 36 and made an attractive 39 from 52 balls, but Sussex coach Mark Robinson said he would not be involved in the County Championship match against Hampshire which starts at the Rose Bowl on Wednesday.
Robinson said: “It has been a gradual process for Michael. It’s the same when a player has an injury and you bring him back too early. We don’t want him to suffer a relapse.
“A fortnight ago when we were up at Durham he was on the phone to me two or three times a day to find out what was going on.
"A week ago he targeted one of the two one-dayers we had over the Bank Holiday and has been increasing his workload since then. He was around the squad for the Championship game last week and before we set off for Derby on Saturday he gave a terrific team talk about the importance of one-day cricket this season. But we can’t push him.”
Sussex wanted Yardy’s return to attract as little publicity as possible and he declined the opportunity to talk to the media afterwards. His presence in the team was confirmed only 40 minutes before the start and he was generously applauded on his way back to the pavilion after the toss.
If Yardy felt comfortable in his surroundings there was a reassuring familiarity about his performance too. He brought himself on in the 10th over and was soon into a rhythm with his left-arm spin, despite having to contend with a strong cross-wind.
In his fifth over a crowd of around 2,500 were on their feet when he had Tom Cooper caught down the leg side. His first six overs cost just 23 runs although his figures were spoiled when opener Eric Szwarczynski greeted his return to the attack for a one-over spell by lofting him for a straight six on his way to a maiden one-day century.
Yardy came in at No 5 with Sussex in some trouble at 47 for three chasing a target of 226, but he got off the mark by dispatching his third ball, a leg-stump half-volley, to the boundary and added three more fours before he played on to Berend Westdijk, trying to force off the back foot.
Vice-captain Murray Goodwin, who helped him put on 80 in 15 overs for the fourth wicket on his way to an unbeaten 109, said the squad had done nothing different since Yardy returned to the dressing-room environment.
“It is nice to have a quality player back and I thought he bowled and batted really well today. To be honest, you wouldn’t have known there is anything wrong with him over the last few weeks since he has been around the guys again. He loves the club and is desperate to do well for Sussex but he is also wise enough to know when he is ready to return on a regular basis.”

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