Former Australia batsman Simon Katich has revealed the reasoning behind returning to Lancashire as the club's overseas player for 2013.
The left-hander says the professionalism on show when he wore the Red Rose in 2010 was a big factor, as was the chance to work with coach Peter Moores once again.
Katich, 37-years-old, made a flying start to his second spell at Emirates Old Trafford with 84 during the first innings of the opening round LV= County Championship Division Two draw against Worcestershire earlier this month.
After missing last week’s Roses friendly, the Western Australian will return to the line-up for Wednesday’s Championship home meeting with Kent.
Katich has also played for Derbyshire, Durham, Yorkshire, Lancashire and, most recently, Hampshire in his county career.
“I was at Hampshire last year, and it's quite strange I guess. Some people will no doubt think it's strange in that respect,” he explained. “But I certainly enjoyed my month here a couple of years ago. I was really impressed with the set-up, and the guys have welcomed me back.
“The thing I was impressed with when I was here in 2010 was the professionalism. I was only here for a month, but what I saw impressed me. I've been around county cricket a lot in the past, and I was impressed with a lot of the off field stuff, which is crucial to getting through the season.
“That's a part of the reason why I did come back. A few of the young guys kicked on the following year, so it didn't surprise me to see them win the Championship in 2011.
“The balance of the squad, they had some great leaders in the senior players, and then there was some young talent. You need that mix in a cricket team. There's no doubt that there's a few guys in the mid-20s range who will now be ready to step up and be big players.”
Katich spent his winter playing Australian grade cricket as well as Twenty20 cricket Down Under for Perth Scorchers and Duronto Rajshahi in Bangladesh.
He has retired from first-class cricket in Australia, and he played the last of his 56 Test matches against England in December 2010.
“When you do finish playing international cricket, there's something that has to keep driving you,” he said. “I felt that at this stage of my career, if I was going to get the best out of myself, I needed a bit more prodding. I thought he (Moores) was probably going to be the guy to be able to do that. That was part of it for me.
“I thought he would be able to extract the best out of me at this stage of my career. Obviously you need to extract it yourself, but it helps if there's someone there to prod you as well. If that can happen, hopefully it will help the team get success. That's the most important thing, for the team to win trophies.
“I was fortunate enough to do that last year at Hampshire, and I enjoyed it. I've got a lot of mates down there. It was a tough decision, but at the end of the day I felt for me to have a good summer and to keep going, I needed to do something slightly different.”
Photo (c) Simon Pendrigh