Pre-season update and James Faulkner confirmation
Lancashire County Cricket Club’s Head Coach Glen Chapple is leading a 10 man squad to Desert Springs this week as preparations step up ahead of the new season, and was in positive mood despite getting confirmation that Australian all-rounder James Faulkner will not be joining up with squad for this year’s NatWest T20 Blast.
Chapple is pleased with the progress of his UK-based players, ahead of the full squad re-uniting, before departure to Dubai and participating in a productive further phase of pre-season, as taking part in the prestigious Emirates T20 Cup.
One noticeable absentee though from Chapple’s plans will be 26 year-old James Faulkner, who has been refused permission from Cricket Australia to play for Lancashire Lightning this summer. Lancashire has received confirmation that Faulkner requires ongoing management of a troublesome knee injury and as a centrally contracted Australian player, such a contract requires Cricket Australia to provide a No Objection Certificate which has not been forthcoming.
Chapple said, “It’s disappointing that James won’t be re-joining us for this year’s NatWest T20 Blast but we understand the reasoning from Cricket Australia.
“We’d had some indications of Faulkner’s position and so we worked hard on bringing Junaid Khan as his replacement. We are also confident of securing another addition to the squad in the coming weeks for this year’s NatWest T20 Blast.”
Faulkner commented, “It is regretful that I am unable to fulfil my playing contract with Lancashire in 2017. Over the last 18 months, I have had an extremely heavy playing schedule. I have also been managing an ongoing knee condition.
“With more cricket ahead and with an equally busy season in 2017/18 around the corner, the decision has been taken for me to rest up in July and August.
“This will undoubtedly be in my best interests but I am sorry to be missing out on more playing time with Lancashire. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Manchester in 2015 and have very fond memories of our T20 victory.
“I would like to wish the club a successful campaign this year.”
Following the additions to the squad of Ryan McLaren, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Dane Vilas and Junaid Khan, Chapple believes Lancashire are in a good place ahead of the new season.
Chapple added, “We are in a strong position ahead of the new campaign and everyone at the Club is excited and raring to go. Last year was a tough year, but we’ve all learnt so much which will undoubtedly benefit us moving forward.
“You look at some of the young players we have in the squad and the talent is unquestionable. Liam Livingstone has just hit two brilliant centuries for England Lions against Sri Lanka A, whilst Saqib Mahmood has just returned from the ECB Pace Programme in South Africa.”
The Lancashire players who have been overseas this winter all return to Emirates Old Trafford before pre-season starts with fitness testing on 6th March.
Chapple commented, “Rob Jones has had a particularly impressive winter abroad playing in Perth and we’re excited to see how he progresses this season, especially after his performances at the back end of last summer.
“We’ve now got a week in Spain before two full weeks with the whole squad together at Emirates Old Trafford. We then fly out to Dubai for our pre-season tour which will be great preparation ahead of the new season. The Emirates T20 competition features some quality opposition and we’ve also lined up two 2-day fixtures against Yorkshire and the UAE National Team so we should be hitting the ground running when we take on Essex in the opening game.”