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Kabir hoping for Lord's return

In-form fast bowler Kabir Ali sees no reason why he can't be a 40-over champion again ahead of Lancashire's remaining three Group B matches, starting with tomorrow's trip to Glasgow to face Scotland.

The ex-England, Hampshire and Worcestershire seamer picked up a winner’s medal at Lord’s with Hampshire Royals last September, and has done his bit to keep the Lightning in the hunt for a second successive semi-final appearance this term.

Ali, 32-years-old, had the start to his Lancashire career delayed until early June due to a knee injury he picked up whilst playing in Bangladesh in February having moved from the South Coast last November.

He has since taken eleven wickets in five YB40 matches and 14 in eleven Twenty20 outings.

His 4-37 from eight overs - his best figures since August 2007 - proved crucial in toppling Derbyshire Falcons in the YB40 at Emirates Old Trafford yesterday.

And ahead of the clash with the Saltires, he said: “As a youngster, you look forward to occasions like Lord's finals. We missed out on the Twenty20 Finals Day, but we're playing good cricket. Fingers crossed, if we keep playing the way we are, you never know what could happen.

“With the excitement of Twenty20, people say that Finals Day is good. For me, Lord's is something very special to be honest. Both are very important, but now that we're out of Twenty20 we would be very happy with a final in the YB40. Hopefully it could be our turn this time.”

Ali was full of praise for the Lightning’s impressive performance against the Falcons, which saw them restrict their opponents to 190-9 before knocking the runs off for the loss of four wickets with 26 balls to spare.

Arron Lilley also added 4-30 with his off-spinners and Ashwell Prince an unbeaten 80 off 75 balls.

“We bowled well as a unit, fielded well - our out-fielding has been brilliant throughout - and Ash played beautifully. Everybody else played around him nicely,” he said.

“He's a quality player who has played a lot of international cricket. It wasn't easy out there because it was tough to play spin. But he rotates it nicely and when he needs a boundary, he gets one. Having somebody like him in your side is brilliant.”

Despite his excellent form with the white ball, Ali has not yet got the red one in his hand in Championship cricket, although he did play in the three-day friendly against Leeds/Bradford University earlier in the season.

With five Championship matches left, he hopes to make his four-day bow before 2013 is out. He added: “I'm in a happy place and really enjoying my cricket at the moment. I'm working hard on my batting and bowling. It's so far, so good.

“I enjoy the one-day and Twenty20 stuff, but I'm really looking forward to playing my first Championship game now. I'm not sure when it's going to be.

“I'm pretty happy with the way things are going for me, and the guys are bowling really well in four-day cricket. Hopefully when my chance comes, I'll take it with both hands.”

Squad: Glen Chapple (capt), Karl Brown, Jordan Clark, Steven Croft, Gareth Cross (wk), Kyle Hogg, Kabir Ali, Simon Katich, Arron Lilley, Stephen Moore, Oliver Newby, Ashwell Prince, Tom Smith

Graham Hardcastle
Picture (c) Simon Pendrigh

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