Peter Moores says his Lancashire players should be excited and not daunted by the prospect of facing England captain Alastair Cook in this week's LV= County Championship match against Essex at Emirates Old Trafford starting on Tuesday.
The Red Rose coach may have been disappointed with his side’s showing in Sunday’s 40-over defeat against Durham, but he was delighted with their final day display to clinch a stunning four-day win against Glamorgan at Colwyn Bay on Friday.
They head into the clash with one win and two draws from three matches compared to Essex’s one win, one draw and one loss.
Oliver Newby and Stephen Parry come in to the squad, while Simon Kerrigan is away on England Lions duty.
Lancashire squad: Glen Chapple (capt), Karl Brown, Steven Croft, Gareth Cross (wkt), Kyle Hogg, Paul Horton, Simon Katich, Oliver Newby, Stephen Parry, Ashwell Prince, Luke Procter, Wayne White.
Essex squad: Alastair Cook, Tom Westley, Bobby Quiney, Mark Pettini, Ben Foakes, James Foster (capt/wkt), Greg Smith), Graham Napier, Tim Phillips, David Masters, Sajid Mahmood, Reece Topley, Jaik Mickleburgh.
Cook plays the last of two Championship matches before the forthcoming Test series against New Zealand, and Moores said: "With all the international players, everybody knows a lot about their games because you see them on the telly all the time.
“What we do know is that he's a fantastic cricketer. But also, it takes just one ball. When you get an opportunity to play against an England player, it's exciting. You should embrace it, bowlers or batters. It will be a good challenge.
“Like always in Championship cricket, we tend to concentrate on ourselves knowing that if we put the balls in the right areas, it will put people under pressure.”
Moores knows the left-hander, who scored 59 against Hampshire last week, well having coached him at international level.
"Cooky's very much his own man, and he has come through his own system. Essex can take credit, they've produced some very good batters,” he continued. "He's always been a very determined bloke as well as a very good player, who learns quickly.
“He loves the game of cricket and wants to talk cricket. He has that lovely mixture of talent and hunger. If you get that in a player, you're going to go far.”
Captain Glen Chapple said on Friday night that the Glamorgan win could do wonders for their season, and Moores agreed: “It was a great win because it was one born out of belief and the ability to build pressure on another side, which we did.
“We needed it without a shadow. We were always behind the eight-ball because of how we batted first innings, and there's no excuses. We got put under pressure by a Glamorgan side who bowled very well. You didn't get many free hits, which created pressure.
"We knew that, with them batting last, if we were able to get some kind of score, (we might have a chance).
"The target was a minimum of a 150 lead, and we'd have liked 200. We got 153, and we knew we had a chance. After the first four overs we didn't, but we had a good finish.”
Essex’s trip north will mark the return of Sajid Mahmood to Old Trafford, although it remains to be seen whether he will make it on to the field for his four-day debut having missed out on the opening three matches.
Moores added: “It will be great to see him because he's got some good friends here. We loved our time with him. Everybody wants to see him get off and running and do well. If he does play, there'll be a bit of banter.”
Photo: Stephen Parry (c) Simon Pendrigh