KARL BROWN is aiming high ahead of 2014, both for Lancashire as a squad and for himself.
Brown and a large number of the Red Rose squad are back in the swing of pre-season training at Emirates Old Trafford. After a couple of weeks of fitness work, the players are concentrating on their skills with bat, ball and, in Alex Davies’ case, the gloves.
Although the county fixtures are released next week ahead of an early April start, there are still a lot of hard yards to be put in before competitive action begins.
But Brown, the 25-year-old right-hander, is determined to leave no stone unturned in the search for silverware and runs.
He admitted to a frustrating 2013 personally having been left out of the LV= County Championship team for a chunk of the season, although he still made some vital contributions to a Division Two title winning campaign.
And, after touching on the success of last season, he was in a bullish mood with regards to the chances of trophies in 2014.
He said: “We’ve had a decent rest now, so everybody’s raring to go. After the disappointment of the year before, we really pushed hard to achieve what we did. The main aim was promotion, but the title was a bonus.
“We proved last summer that we’re better than playing in Division Two. We got relegated, and we were only in that league for one year. I think we proved that it was a minor blip. Hopefully last season stands us in good stead for playing Division One cricket for a long period of time.
“We’ve played a lot of cricket in Division One over a number of years, and we know exactly what to expect. A lot of teams can be more worried about us than we are of them.”
In ten Championship matches in 2013, Brown scored 428 runs at an average of 26.75, including three fifties.
His high score of 87 came in the season’s second match against Kent at Emirates Old Trafford before scoring a brilliant 80 in a tense and successful final day run chase against Essex at the same venue a few weeks later.
But he only played four Championship matches beyond the end of May having been told by coach Peter Moores that he needed to turn half-centuries into centuries.
“I was disappointed with my season to be honest,” he continued. “I felt like I got off to a good start in Championship cricket, but I found myself left out of the team.
“I came back in towards the end having done well in the second team, but I didn’t quite do as well as I wanted to. It’s something that I’m obviously looking to put right for next season.
“There’s a few things I’m working on. Technically I feel like I’m in a good place. I don’t feel like I need to work on that much. I think it’s just a case of trying to repeat things over a period of time. I feel like I can play most of the shots, but it’s just about repeating that session after session. Hopefully that will bring big scores.
“I’m not planning on going away, I’m just planning to work hard in the indoor school and bat for long periods of time inside. That works just as well as being away.”
Brown faces competition from the likes of Steven Croft, Andrea Agathangelou, Liam Livingstone and Jordan Clark for a place in Lancashire’s Championship middle order next season, but he can also benefit from the competition for bowling places too.
With Wayne White, Kabir Ali, Gavin Griffiths and Oliver Newby all fighting for places, they will not be taking it easy in the nets. That can only help Brown to up his game.
And he added: “I think it’s brilliant that we’ve got so much competition in the squad, I really do. It can only be a plus for us. We’ve got so many good players around, someone’s going to miss out. That’s inevitable. But you know that if you’re in the team, there’s someone there waiting to take your place. Obviously that puts a premium on performance, which is what we need.”
by Graham Hardcastle
Don't forget, you can watch England at Emirates Old Trafford in 2014. Tickets for next year's International fixtures are currently on general sale. They start from just £35 for adults (£15 for children under the age of 16) for the England V Sri Lanka, Royal London ODI (28/5/14) and £45 (£20) per day (first three days) and £30 (£15) for Day Four of the Investec Test match against India (7-11/8/14). They can be purchased by calling the Club’s 24-hour ticket line on 08 444 999 666 or by visiting here
The Club also have some outstanding hospitality packages available to suit everybody. More information can be found by visiting here