Croft confident ahead of home Roses clash
Croft confident of Roses success
Lancashire are confident of ending a run of nearly six years without a Roses County Championship victory as they prepare to welcome Yorkshire to Emirates Old Trafford on Friday.
The last time the Red Rose won a four-day match against the old enemy was at Headingley in July 2011.
They actually clinched the double that year and went on to win the title for the first time in 77 years. Yorkshire were relegated.
Since then, they have drawn two and lost two four-day clashes with the White Rose.
This year, however, things could be different.
Lancashire have made an encouraging start to their Specsavers Division One campaign, drawing two and winning one to sit second in the table and four points behind leaders Surrey.
And Yorkshire, despite being only five points back in fourth, have been unconvincing, losing one, winning one and drawing one.
They will be without their five England players, with Lancashire having Jimmy Anderson and Haseeb Hameed available.
“To be fair, we’d like to beat them with everyone in the side, but it’s one of those things,” said Red Rose captain Steven Croft.
“In the past, we rarely saw Freddie or have had Jimmy or Jos (Buttler) available.
“We’re in a great position as a team, and I think they’ll be wary of us.
“If you look at all of our Championship matches so far, we haven’t been outplayed in any of them, so it’s been a great start.
“It’s going to be really tight this year. There are some brilliant teams in the division, and I think it’s going to be close at both ends.
“We don’t want to get involved in a scrap, but it could happen.
“We’re looking towards the other end. We want to improve on last year’s position (of seventh).
“We’ve been on top in four-day cricket in every game.
“We were in a great position at Essex and at Surrey on a track which is usually very hard to get a result on. The Somerset game, it was a brilliant win. It’s been a real team effort.”
Yorkshire will have new ball seamers Ryan Sidebottom and Jack Brooks available for the first time this summer following pre-season hamstring and calf injuries.
Lancashire are also likely to be able to call upon the services of Shiv Chanderpaul following the thigh injury he suffered at Surrey.
He played in the second XI earlier this week, scoring 27 in a one-day game against Durham at Bowdon on Tuesday.
It will also be only Croft’s second Championship appearance of the campaign having injured his thumb at Essex in the opening round.
“Yorkshire is the fixture that I look for first in any competition,” he added.
“Unfortunately, we lost the one-dayer at Headingley a couple of weeks ago, which was a blow. But we have four more games against them, and hopefully we can get the four wins.”