James Anderson returns to the Lancashire line-up for this week's LV= County Championship match against Warwickshire
Lancashire have included Simon Kerrigan in the starting line-up with injuries to Sajid Mahmood and Farveez Maharoof ruling both players out.
Steven Croft has hailed a “good team effort” as the main reason behind the side's impressive start to their LV= County Championship campaign.
“We’ve been in good form. What we’ve worked on in pre-season, to post big scores, has worked well,” said Croft, who will relinquish the captaincy duties as Glen Chapple returns to the line-up after missing the 40-over defeat at Essex.
“We’ve always proved that we’re capable of taking 20 wickets. It’s just runs on the board, which we’ve managed to do this year.
“It’s been quite encouraging this year that everyone, even as far down as number eight or number nine, has got scores of plus 50. Everyone’s been contributing with the bat and ball. It’s been a good team effort.”
Croft admitted that he enjoyed his first taste of leading his county in a competitive fixture at Chelmsford on Monday, but also said: “I’d have liked the match to have gone better”.
He will no doubt be happy to return to the role of foot soldier in the Midlands tomorrow, which means Chapple can put a niggling knee complaint behind him in order to take the new ball.
The skipper’s new ball partner will be England’s Ashes hero Jimmy Anderson, who is back in county colours for the next two four-day matches in order to prepare for the Test series against Sri Lanka later this month.
Croft continued: “Jimmy’s definitely up there as one of the top two or three seamers in the world. What’s always admiring is that when he comes back, he wants to be here with us. He really gives it his all for the team cause. He puts in it at the nets and on the field too.”
Anderson will come up against international colleagues Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott before facing Yorkshire at Liverpool in a fortnight’s time.
Both Bell and Trott were in the Warwickshire line-up for last season’s fixtures, both of which Lancashire won.
“We’ve had quite a bit of success against Warwickshire in recent times,” commented Croft. “Hopefully that can continue.”
Croft started the four-day campaign in impressive fashion with a 64 in the win against Sussex at Liverpool, but has since only managed a pair of fours in the matches against Somerset at the same venue and Sussex at Hove last week.
He scored 89 in the first innings of last year’s match at Edgbaston.
The Blackpool-born player added: “I would have liked a few more runs, but I’ve only batted three times. I’m not complaining because it means we’re doing well as a team.
“I don’t feel like I’m out of nick at all because I’ve been hitting a lot of balls in the nets. Hopefully I can get my head down this week and occupy the crease for an extended period of time.”
LCCC supporters can listen to live online commentary of the game courtesy of BBC Radio Manchester by clicking here.
Squad: Glen Chapple (Captain), James Anderson, Karl Brown, Mark Chilton, Steven Croft, Gareth Cross (wkt), Kyle Hogg, Paul Horton, Gary Keedy, Farveez Maharoof, Sajid Mahmood, Stephen Moore, Luke Procter.
Stephen Croft was talking to Graham Hardcastle
Photo (c) Simon Pendrigh
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