Giles looking forward to T20 opener
Ashley Giles is set for a pretty easy team talk ahead of Lancashire’s NatWest T20 Blast opener against Derbyshire at Emirates Old Trafford tomorrow.
“It was fantastic last year,” he said, of the Lightning's first title success.
“And if I’m going to say anything to the guys beforehand, it will be ‘remember that feeling on Finals Day and play with that intensity we played with’.
“I know it’s difficult to replicate when there’s less people around. It might also be a bit colder. But it’s a special feeling to get to Finals Day, and let’s get there again. Why not? No side has ever won it back-to-back, so let’s try and do that this year.”
The Red Rose finished fourth in the North Group last year, with their good form building throughout the competition.
“It doesn’t particularly matter how we get through, which we showed last year,” said Giles.
“We scraped through and then played our best cricket, but it would be nice to play consistently good T20 cricket.
“Our record over the last 10-12 years is as good as anyone’s. We've won more games than anybody in the country. Let’s try and maintain that.
Lancashire’s team for tomorrow’s clash will be much changed from the one that beat Northamptonshire in the final at Edgbaston last August.
There will be no James Faulkner, Jos Buttler or Ashwell Prince.
But Tom Smith will return after more than a year out with, mainly, a career threatening back injury and then more recent hamstring troubles.
Derbyshire finished bottom of the North Group last season, winning only four of 14 matches.
But they have added to their squad in the form of New Zealanders James Neesham and Neil Broom, while another Kiwi Hamish Rutherford is set to play a more prominent role after only featuring in a handful of games last term.
All-rounder Neesham is the Falcons specialist overseas player, while experienced batsman Broom has been recruited courtesy of a British passport.
Batsman Rutherford is their main overseas player for all competitions this year.
“They’re a dangerous side,” added Giles.
“They beat us last year at Derby and had us on the rack at home.
“After 10 overs, we were struggling. We were 50 or 60 for three and then Crofty and Jimmy Faulkner smoked it for 10 overs.
“We just can’t take anyone lightly. We’re probably two guys down on our best team at the moment with Jos and Martin Guptill not being around, but there’s a lot to play for for individuals.
“The side that plays Saturday, someone’s going to have to miss out when those two guys come back.”
As Giles said, another Lancashire title success would leave them as the first side to defend their title since the competition began in the early 2000s.
And batsman Karl Brown says that is a massive motivator for the squad in 2016.
“We’re all looking forward to it, especially now that we’ve got a chance to defend it," he added.
“It’s something that everybody’s really up for because nobody’s done it before. It’s certainly a big aim.
“If we can do it, it would be really special. I think we’d then be remembered for a long time as a great team.
“It is going to be tough to do it, but there’s no reason why we can’t. We’ve got the players, 100 percent.”