Wayne White has played his whole career in the LV= County Championship's Division Two, so his knowledge of what promises to be a different challenge for Lancashire this summer could be crucial.
The talented all-rounder, 27-years-old, has extensive experience of gunning for promotion with Leicestershire and Derbyshire, whereas the majority of the Red Rose squad have been playing Division One cricket since 2005.
It is widely accepted that Lancashire and Hampshire are the favourites to secure the two promotion places back to the top tier in September, but White knows it won’t be a walk in the park from next Wednesday onwards.
Lancashire begin their promotion bid against Worcestershire at Emirates Old Trafford.
“You can be favourites all you like, but you’ve got to earn the right to be that,” said the seam bowler and hard-hitting middle order batsman.
“We can’t take this league lightly because last year everyone could beat everyone. We’ll play on a few wickets at out grounds this year where 400 may not be the par score.
“We might just have to get a score on the board and get ourselves in the game to make sure we’re not behind the eight-ball after the first innings.
“Most sides have realised that to go up you need to win games rather than draw games. In the First Division, if you’re not winning them you need to be drawing them. In the Second Division, you can take a few more punts on trying to win.
“A lot of games were set up quite early in the season. Once it gets just past halfway and captains realise where they need to be, they start to think about setting things up. There is a lot more of that. You need to win games to go up in Division Two. It’s different in Division One because if you’re not going to win the title, you’ve got to make sure you stay up.
“At Leicestershire we declared a couple of times last year knowing we’d miss out on batting points purely because you don’t really get anything for a draw these days.
“It won’t be easy. Life will be a bit strange not being in the First Division. Hopefully the talent and class we have in the side can prevail. If we prepare well and do the right things, we have a great chance of winning every game.”
White was excellent during Lancashire’s pre-season tour of Dubai recently, especially with the ball. He hit 29 in the Twenty20 defeat against Sussex before his tour culminated in a fiery five-wicket haul during a two-day match against the same opponents.
And, needless to say, he is desperate to be playing Division One cricket for the first time in 2014, Lancashire’s 150th anniversary year.
“Having a chance to win the title was the big reason for coming here,” he added. “I know we came down last year, but the side is hardly any different to the one which won the Championship.
“In the long term, I was looking at a year in Division Two and then playing Division One cricket. Everyone wants to play at the highest level you can. Look at some of the great players playing in Division One, and it would be great to test myself against them.”
Above: Wayne White in the new dressing rooms at Old Trafford that were used as a temporary studio at this week's photocall
Photo (c) Simon Wilkinson/Swpix