Luke Procter is fast becoming an all-rounder to be reckoned with. A fast-medium paced bowler, he is also a left-handed batsman who tried his hand as an opening batsman towards the end of the 2012 summer with some degree of success.
With loss of form and injury hitting Peter Moores’s plans, he threw Procter in at the deep end during a County Championship match against Worcestershire towards the end of August after returning from nearly two months out with a torn side muscle.
And despite only scoring 16, he showed enough signs of promise during a 50-ball stay at the crease to keep his place for the last three matches of the season, in which he scored 30 against Middlesex at Lord’s and 36 against Surrey at Liverpool.
He admitted at the end of the campaign that he was keen to keep his place at the top of the order rather than moving back down it. And that he did for the start of 2013.
Despite scoring a half-century in the first match of the season, however, the emergence of Luis Reece and the return from injury of Paul Horton meant he dropped back down the order to bat at number five and six.
And it was a move that worked a treat, with him scoring five successive half-centuries between early July and late August.
In the penultimate match of the season, Procter posted his maiden first-class century against Gloucestershire at Bristol, a 227-ball 106. His haul of 15 Championship wickets included three four-wicket hauls.
It seemed that ahead of 2014, he had found his rightful role in the side having scored a career best total of 718 runs from 15 matches at 34.19.
And despite a frustrating season, he was at least able to return to the side at the end of the season to score 81 against Sussex at Hove and 42 against Middlesex at Emirates Old Trafford. He also took 4-50 in the first innings of the draw which proved not to be enough to secure Division One status.
Procter started the 2011 campaign – his second as a professional – with the aim of trying to cement his place in Lancashire’s limited overs teams, accepting that anything else he achieved would be a bonus.
He ended it with 366 runs and nine wickets to his name from seven Championship matches, top of the club’s four-day batting averages and with a medal around his neck.
Procter scored fifties against Sussex at Hove during his first appearance of the campaign – he converted it into a career best 89 – and Durham at Liverpool, while adding a number of other valuable contributions. He finished with an average of 40.66.
He also outfoxed batsmen with his whippy bowling action and extra pace, claiming 3-33 against Warwickshire at Edgbaston, prospering as the third seamer in the attack by getting out Mohammad Yousuf, the prolific Pakistani batsman.
In terms of one-day cricket, by and large, Procter achieved his pre-season goal. He played in nine of the 12 40-over matches and in 15 out of 18 Twenty20 matches.
In 2012, 2013 and 2014, however, he only played four one-day and four Twenty20 matches.
Procter signed professional terms at Old Trafford ahead of the 2010 summer, making his Championship debut against Warwickshire at Edgbaston later in that season as a substitute for Jimmy Anderson.
Anderson was still in the air on the way back from the World Twenty20 competition in the West Indies when the clash started, but was desperate to play in a bid to get some valuable game time in ahead of the home Tests.
It was quite ironic, therefore, that Anderson was in the side a year later alongside Procter at Edgbaston, praising the now 25-year-old for his impressive bowling display.
Procter’s first full Championship match came at the end of the 2010 when the Red Rose travelled to Taunton, and he scored a classy 32 against runners up Somerset.
Only a few days before that, he had scored a brilliant 64 not out to help a young Lightning side clinch an impressive 40-over win over Worcestershire at Liverpool. Earlier in the summer, he had scored a career best 97 against the West Indies A in a 50-over friendly at Old Trafford.
He was selected for the club’s academy in 2007 before being offered a scholarship deal in 2009.
Despite his side problem in 2012, which was suffered midway through Twenty20, he was able to play 13 Championship matches and 14 first-class matches in all. He scored 491 runs, including 77 in the season-opening champion county fixture against the MCC in Abu Dhabi, and took 28 wickets.
He claimed a best of 7-71 from 19.1 overs in the aforementioned match against Surrey in 2013, including two wickets in an over twice.
Graham Hardcastle (c) Lancashire County Cricket Club