Simon Katich has hailed former Ashes rival and current county colleague James Anderson as the England bowler prepares to make the second of two scheduled Championship appearances for Lancashire on Wednesday.
The Red Rose swing bowler will line up at Colwyn Bay against Glamorgan in the third LV= County Championship match of the season as he prepares for a busy summer of international cricket, including Test series against New Zealand and Australia as well as the one-day Champions Trophy in June.
Anderson took 4-57 in the first innings of last week’s draw against Kent at Emirates Old Trafford.
The 30-year-old was made available by the England management for two Championship matches ahead of next month’s New Zealand series, although his situation will be assessed this weekend by Andy Flower and company to see if he needs any more county cricket.
Lancashire host Essex in another Division Two clash at Old Trafford next week.
Head Coach Peter Moores has announced a 13-man squad, with the Wayne White and Tom Smith added to the 11 players on duty against Kent.
Lancashire squad: Glen Chapple (capt), James Anderson, Karl Brown, Steven Croft, Gareth Cross (wkt), Kyle Hogg, Paul Horton, Simon Katich, Simon Kerrigan, Ashwell Prince, Luke Procter, Tom Smith, Wayne White.
Glamorgan squad: BJ Wright, WD Bragg, SJ Walters, MJ North, MW Goodwin, J Allenby, MA Wallace (captain and wicket-keeper), GG Wagg, JC Glover, DA Cosker, MG Hogan and MT Reed.
Katich has played against Anderson in two Ashes series, one in England in 2009 and the other Down Under in 2010/11, although the left-handed batsman only played in the first two Tests of the latter series.
And the Western Australian said: “There is no doubt he is one of the best in the world. The thing he has about him is he is so fit and runs at you all day and sustains his pace. He did it in the first innings (against Kent), he worked hard all day without a wicket, then got his rewards later.
“That’s the experience you get from him. He can move the ball both ways, and he is always asking questions of the batsmen. Having faced him in Test cricket, I know he is a very good bowler and competitor. There is no doubt in this Ashes series he will be hard work for the Australian top order.”
While Lancashire have not yet got off the mark with a win, they have played some excellent cricket in their two draws against Worcestershire and Kent, which has given them confidence that a win is just around the corner.
And Katich is convinced that if they keep doing the right things and get some luck with the weather, the results will come.
“When a team wins a title, there are reasons why you do. Teams don’t just fluke it,” he said. “You have to play well all season, and the boys did that a couple of years ago. They are obviously disappointed with what happened last year, but that’s cricket. It doesn’t mean they can’t play well anymore, it just means they had a bad season. That happens.
“It seems like everyone is hungry from that experience and want to change it pretty quickly. The initial signs have been very good because we have done what Moorsey and Chappie have asked of us in being relentless with the ball and the bat. If we sustain that throughout the whole season we have a chance, but that is easier said than done because it is a tough season – at some point it catches up with you. That’s where we need the depth in our squad to step up.
“In four-day cricket, being relentless is so important because you can have a good day. If you don’t follow it up the next day, the game can drift away from you. But if you perform consistently over four days, you more often than not crack teams. That’s what has to happen to win games.
“And so far we have been able to do that. We have backed up performances day after day, making sure we control the game. We haven’t got a win yet. But if we get four full days and play the way we have, then that will happen.”
Glamorgan have won one and drawn one of their first two matches. They are captained by experienced wicketkeeper Mark Wallace, while ex-Lancashire batsman Marcus North is their overseas. He is a team-mate of Katich’s with the Australian Twenty20 team Perth Scorchers.
Photo (c) Simon Pendrigh