Giles in favour of new coin toss rule
Lancashire’s Cricket Director and Head Coach Ashley Giles believes between six and eight wins may secure County Championship glory this summer.
The T20 Blast title-winning coach feels that the ECB’s new ruling on the toss will mean the winning team will need nowhere near the record eleven wins Yorkshire secured last year.
With visiting captains given the option of dispensing with the toss and bowling first, it seems as though pitches across the country have become more batsman friendly.
In the first three rounds of the Specsavers Division One, only two results have been possible, with Lancashire claiming one of them against Notts at Emirates Old Trafford last month.
Earlier this week, Lancashire bossed their clash with Somerset on a flat Taunton track. And although they enforced the follow-on defending 493-9 declared, they could not break a third-wicket century stand between veterans Marcus Trescothick and Chris Rogers on the final day.
The ECB’s aim with the toss rule was to encourage counties to produce better pitches as they bid to bring spinners into the games more as they progress.
Many players and coaches are against the rule, but not Giles. He believes it has its benefits.
Ahead of Lancashire’s home clash with Hampshire tomorrow, he said: “Consistently over the last few years, we’ve seen that the points have gone up to win Division One. Perhaps the trend is going to be broken.
“This year, who knows how many wins it might take.
“We might see a quick turnaround, but six, seven or eight wins might do it rather than 10 or 11.
“I don’t think that’s a particularly bad thing. Everybody likes to see results, but we also like to see really good cricket.
“You saw at Somerset that if you bat well, you’re going to get runs.
“It’s probably more in favour of batting around the country, but we are in the business of trying to prepare guys for Test cricket, to play for England. And they’re the sort of pitches you’ll play on.
“You have to bowl well to your plans and be disciplined to get wickets, or to get good players out, on those sort of pitches. I think it’s so far, so good.”
As well as improving the quality of spin bowling, something which is obviously close to Giles’ heart, he also believes the standard of seam bowling will improve.
“It has to because you need to be more disciplined,” he said.
“You can’t just be an ‘Average Joe’, someone who just pitches it up and nibbles it. You’ve got to be able to do something with it, be it pace or swing.
“You’ve got to be good to get wickets in those conditions.
“There will be a bit of niggle about with people saying ‘oh, it’s flat, so there will be a lot of draws’. But it’s tough cricket. You have to bowl properly or you’ll get panned.”
Lancashire will bid to make it two wins from three tomorrow when Hampshire visit the North West on the back of three successive draws to start their campaign.
It hasn’t been plain sailing for captain James Vince and his squad, who have been beset by injury problems within their bowling department.
Reece Topley and Fidel Edwards are the two most high-profile injured seamers with a broken hand and a broken leg respectively; the latter suffered whilst playing football in the warm-ups before a clash with Yorkshire last month.
And they have been forced to draft in replacements, with ex-West Indies quick Tino Best joining on a short-term contract. He should play his second match against the Red Rose.
And while Giles has sympathy with Dale Benkenstein and Giles White, the Hampshire management team, he is hoping they are a few more things to worry about this week.
“Hampshire have had their injury problems, and that happens,” he added. “We’ve been lucky so far, touch wood. Injuries haven’t been a massive problem for us.
“But we know that with the amount of cricket coming up, it’s important to try and keep everybody available.
“We have to look after our bowlers, particularly, and try and maintain that momentum.
“I wouldn’t wish that on anybody. But if we can capitalise, great.
“If we’d gone two in two at Somerset, it would have given us a great leap. But Hampshire are a good side, and it’s going to be tough for us.
“You can’t take anyone lightly in this strong Division One.”