Lancashire pick from a 14-man squad for the LV= County Championship match against Middlesex at Liverpool, starting Wednesday
Squad: Glen Chapple (capt), Karl Brown, Steven Croft, Gareth Cross (wkt), Kyle Hogg, Paul Horton, Gary Keedy, Simon Kerrigan, Sajid Mahmood, Stephen Moore, Oliver Newby, Ashwell Prince, Luke Procter, Ajmal Shahzad.
Graham Hardcastle previews the match
Lancashire’s clash with Middlesex at Liverpool tomorrow begins a key phase in their LV= County Championship campaign, according to Red Rose coach Peter Moores.
The champions face the first of three four-day matches in three weeks ahead of their Friends Life t20 campaign, which starts on June 14.
They face Middlesex, potentially featuring England fringe batsman Eoin Morgan in their line-up after a spell at the Indian Premier League, before hitting the road to tackle Durham at the Riverside and then Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.
Lancashire are still looking for their first four-day win, having drawn three and lost three of their first six matches.
But, so says Moores, they have gained some valuable momentum from Saturday’s stirring rearguard batting effort to save their match against Warwickshire at Edgbaston, led by Paul Horton’s 137 not out and Gareth Cross’s unbeaten 75 during the final day after being asked to follow-on.
“We all know that momentum is a huge thing in sport, and we've got a little bit now. We've got to build on that,” said the former Sussex and Worcestershire wicketkeeper.
“We know we've got three Championship games coming up in quick succession. It's a chance for us to get some wins under our belts and get the season moving before Twenty20.
“It (Warwickshire) was quite a significant result. It was an opportunity for us to show some fight and character and the stuff we want to show to get our season moving because it's been a tough start.
“It's something that's been a bit of a trademark of how we've played. We've had a tough start, we've made no bones about it. It hasn't gone exactly how we'd want it to.
“We've had to get people confident with their batting because we've struggled for runs. Paul Horton's was an outstanding knock backed up by all the batters. Luke Procter played well and Gareth Cross towards the end in a really significant partnership with Horts.”
There was a 19-point swing with the result at Edgbaston. Lancashire gained three for the draw and stopped the Bears getting 16 for the win in the process. It leaves the gap between second-bottom Lancashire and the Division One leaders at 51 points, although the Bears have played one less.
After Saturday’s play, Moores was asked about his team’s chances of regaining their crown, and he said: “It's not something you focus on.
“The only thing that's really important to us now is Middlesex, and you've got to bring it back into the simple things; win sessions, win days of play and try and win a game.
“Going back to when a lot of the young lads came into the side over the last two or three years, they've shown a lot of character and fight. Now is a time to keep doing that.”
Middlesex sit fifth in the table having won two out of their first five matches. They have beaten Surrey and Worcestershire, drawing their last match with Notts at Trent Bridge. Australian batsman Chris Rogers is their overseas player, while former Lancashire second-teamer John Simpson will be behind the stumps.
Photo (c) Simon Pendrigh
Article (c) Lancashire CCC Ltd