Left-arm spinner Stephen Parry has said that being an integral part of Lancashire's pre-season preparations both at home and abroad helped him to settle when he made his competitive first team debut at Essex on Sunday.
The 23 year-old Mancunian was the shining light of an otherwise disappointing day at the office for the Red Rose county, who lost their unbeaten start to the new season in a Friends Provident Trophy Group D tie.
Parry etched his name into the record books whilst hitting 31 off 64 balls with the bat, helping wicketkeeper Luke Sutton in a record ninth wicket partnership of 74 in 22 overs, a Lancashire record for that wicket in the competition.
And he backed it up with stunning figures of 1-17 off ten overs as Lancashire fought hard to defend 157. Parry had Varun Chopra stumped for 72.
“I wasn’t as nervous bowling because Dubai went so well,” said Parry, who took six wickets in three Pro ARCH Trophy matches in the United Arab Emirates in March. “That really gave me some confidence."
Parry claimed three wickets in each of the games against Sussex and Yorkshire, while he also hit 13 off 21 balls in a losing cause with the bat against the White Rose county at Sharjah.
“In the first few overs of my first game against Sussex I was a little bit nervous, but I settled down pretty quickly,” continued the player, who has just spent a winter playing grade cricket for Sale in rural Melbourne.
“I was given a chance in Abu Dhabi to play, and I thought I bowled well, fielded well and learnt a lot about the batting role that I needed to play. I got a chance to bat against Yorkshire for a while.”
Parry’s influence with the bat at Chelmsford on Sunday ensured the Lightning “went down fighting”: “It’s always nice to get yourself in the record books, but the result was more important.
“I thought that I bowled quite well, it was really good to get my first wicket. It was good to show the first team coaches that I can step up and play.”
Parry, who claimed 19 Second XI Championship wickets at 25.26 last summer, has retained his place in an unchanged 13-man squad for the Group D clash against Northamptonshire at Old Trafford tomorrow.
Peter Moores is aiming for 12 points to ensure qualification for the quarter finals, and Lancashire currently have six points. They are second in the group courtesy of an inferior head to head record with Essex.
Tomorrow’s clash is the first of three FPT games this week, with away clashes against Derbyshire and Glamorgan to follow on Wednesday and Friday. The latter two fixtures are both floodlit affairs.
Parry added: “I am looking forward to the games. If I get picked, I will try my best again.”
Wicketkeeper Sutton, who described Parry’s display as “magnificent” said: “We have got three one-day games coming up, which we can attack really aggressively. We are a very good side, I think that is obvious from the cricket we have been playing at the start of the year.
“We have had our slip up, but we will be aiming to turn up and win three good games of cricket. I think Northants are a dangerous side actually, but we beat them comprehensively at Northampton.
“We are very confident. I have got a good feeling that we will turn up on Tuesday right on the money.”
(c) Lancashire CCC Ltd