England ace James Anderson will make a rare appearance in a Roses match when Lancashire face Yorkshire at Liverpool, starting Wednesday.
Squad: Chapple (capt), Anderson, Brown, Chilton, Croft, Cross (wkt), Horton, Keedy, Kerrigan, Maharoof, Mahmood, Moore, Procter.
Yorkshire from: Gale (capt), Lyth, Sayers, Root, Gale, Ballance, Brophy (wkt), Rashid, Sidebottom, Patterson, Ashraf, Hannon-Dalby, Wainwright, Guy.
With Lancashire setting the early pace in the LV= County Championship, having won three out of four, and Yorkshire just starting to find a little bit of form following two successive home defeats last month, this fixture already had a mouth-watering look to it.
And, whilst doing his utmost to fire Lancashire to victory number four this summer, Anderson will also have one eye on preparing for England’s forthcoming Test series against Sri Lanka.
Anderson played in the most recent four-day win against Warwickshire at Edgbaston, but has only played five Championship matches against the old enemy during his career.
“Five is actually more than I thought I’d played,” said Anderson, who has taken 25 wickets, including two five-wicket hauls, against the Headingley outfit.
“I remember one of my first games for Lancashire was a Roses match, and they’re great games to play in. They're usually a great atmosphere, and I'm sure that will be no different at Liverpool. It will be hard-fought, for sure.”
The fixture clashes with the England Lions versus Sri Lanka four-day match at Derby, where White Rose pair Jonny Bairstow and Ajmal Shahzad will play.
And a right calf injury to Anderson’s England colleague Tim Bresnan, who has suffered a recurrence of the same problem which hampered him through the latter half of the winter, has ruled him out of the fixture.
Yorkshire are also sweating on the fitness of wicketkeeper Gerard Brophy after he took two blows to his right thumb in their draw against Hampshire on Saturday.
But that should still not detract from what promises to be a cracking contest.
Anderson is not the only Red Rose player looking forward to this week.
All-rounder Luke Procter could make his Roses debut after impressing during the last two four-day matches with both bat and ball.
The 22 year-old said: "To play in that would be a massive moment in my career. The pressure of it as well, I'd love to play under that sort of pressure."
Steven Croft led Lancashire in Sunday’s Clydesdale Bank 40 match against Somerset at Taunton, but will be relieved of the captaincy duties when Glen Chapple returns after being rested.
With the strength of the bowling attacks for both sides, and with the conditions at Liverpool making a positive result the most likely depending on the weather, Croft is expecting the batsmen to be the key to the contest.
He added: “It has been shown over the last four or five seasons at Liverpool that wickets haven’t been too much of a problem.
“The key at Liverpool is to score heavy runs because there’s no doubt that you can take 20 wickets. The team who scores the heaviest in the first innings has a great chance of winning the game.”
Photo (c) Simon Pendrigh