Yorkshire cricket star Joe Sayers back at the top after Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome

From the Yorkshire Post, 31 August 2011 (story by Chris Waters)

Sayers has chance to confirm leadership potential

THERE were times when Yorkshire batsman Joe Sayers feared he might never play again.

Sayers contracted Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome last summer and wondered whether he would be able to resume his cricketing career.

But after battling back this season in courageous style, Sayers will this week captain Yorkshire for the first time in County Championship cricket.

It caps an emotional journey for the 27-year-old opening batsman, who takes charge against Warwickshire at Edgbaston in the absence of injured club captain Andrew Gale and South African batsman Jacques Rudolph, who has returned home briefly to attend a training camp.

Ever since he emerged on the first-class scene in 2002, Sayers has been identified as captaincy material.

The dreaded tag “Future England Captain” was foisted on his shoulders in recognition not only of burgeoning ability but leadership potential.

Sayers might not realise the ultimate ambition of captaining his country.

But the next-best prize – leading Yorkshire – means a great deal to a man who is a splendid ambassador for the club and his profession.

“It’s been a long-standing ambition of mine to captain the county team,” said Sayers, who will be looking to steer Yorkshire clear of the relegation zone with victory this week.

“In a way, the next fortnight is a celebration of how far I’ve come in the past year on a personal level.

“It’s a terrific honour to lead the team and I’m looking forward to it immensely.

“Despite the difficulties of the last year and the illness I’ve been through, I think I’ve come back and played a decent role in all forms of the game, and I’m quite proud of that.”

Sayers warmed up for this week’s challenge by taking the reins for Sunday’s CB40 match against Worcestershire.

He led the side to a six-wicket victory in a spirited response to last week’s Championship defeat against Warwickshire at Headingley.

“Some honest words were spoken after that Warwickshire game,” admitted Sayers.

“We reflected on what was a sub-standard performance, and I thought Sunday’s reaction was very encouraging.

“There was a good vibe in the dressing room and we’ve set out our stall to have a real good last fortnight of the season.

“It’s hopefully set us up for a good week at Edgbaston.”

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