2015 was arguably Karl Brown’s best season for Lancashire. He started the season out of the side but was brought into the top order after Luis Reece lost his place and Brown never looked back. He was a constant feature in all competitions for the side and hit his maiden First Class century at Emirates Old Trafford against Kent.
He also put in a man of the match performance in the semi-final of the NatWest T20 Blast semi-final against Hampshire as Lightning went on to win the tournament for the first time.
He was also named Lancashire’s One-Day Player of the Year and the Champagne Moment of the Year after his sensational combined catch with Arron Lilley against Kent Spitfires.
Earlier in his career, Karl Brown was forced to remain patient for a regular run in Lancashire’s first team after being awarded a professional contract in 2006. But, boy, it was worth the wait.
Having only played six County Championship and ten one-day matches prior to the start of the 2011 campaign, there would have been some doubts – maybe even from himself – over whether he could make the grade.
However, after a playing in all 16 Championship matches and securing a place in the 40-over and Twenty20 sides as well in 2011, those doubts disappeared.
Not only is Brown a county champion – he finished with 888 four-day runs, including one hundred and two 90s – he also earned a place on England’s Performance Programme winter schedule for 2011/12.
His first-team chance came in 2007 when he played in a 50-over Trophy match against Worcestershire at Old Trafford, making his Championship debut against Durham at the Riverside the following season.
There was a strong indication that Brown, now aged 26, would start the 2011 summer in the Championship team when he scored 37 and 72 in the three-day friendly against Oxford University at the Parks.
But, having opened the batting in that clash, he was awarded the number three slot for the season opener against Sussex at Liverpool, in which he scored 114 off 236 balls to nail down his spot.
He also scored a fabulous 96 on a tricky pitch in a win over Hampshire at the Rose Bowl in late May, demonstrating that he can harness some eye-catching stroke-play with plenty of determination when required.
And it was against the white ball where Brown enjoyed most of his success in 2012 as well. The talented right-hander did not quite kick on as he would have hoped in the Championship, scoring only 594 runs from 25 innings, including three fifties (a best of 78).
2013 was another mixed season for the right-hander, who only played ten Championship matches and scored three fifties. Although he started the campaign in the side and played some important innings, he was challenged to score big runs by Peter Moores.
He scored two half-centuries in each of the 40-over and Twenty20 competitions.
2014 proved to be another impressive summer for him in limited overs cricket. He hit a memorable one-day century in a home defeat against Yorkshire and also excelled in Twenty20 cricket as the Lightning reached the final, in which he scored 55 against Birmingham Bears.
He was named as the club’s One-day Player of the Year at the end of season awards, and he was described as one of the best white ball talents in the country by Glen Chapple. Brown, however, could not produce similar form in the Championship, only playing six matches with a top-score of 29. Securing a four-day place in 2015 is likely to be his number one target.