Stephen Parry knows Lancashire face a must win clash with Surrey at Guildford tomorrow as they bid to keep their Yorkshire Bank 40 hopes alive.
The left-arm spinner, 27-years-old, heads south with the rest of the Lightning squad on the back of a very productive three days captaining a Red Rose first XI to victory over the students of Leeds/Bradford MCC Universities.
Parry took eight wickets in the match, including 5-70 in the second innings.
It has been an encouraging start to the season for the England Lion, who played his first LV= County Championship match since 2010 last month before taking career best one-day figures in the home 40-over win against Surrey and leading the senior side this week.
“I've not had too many bad days this season, touch wood,” he admitted.
“I feel like I'm bowling really well at the moment. Hopefully I can take my momentum from the start of this year into Sunday and hopefully get a few more good scalps to contribute to a win.”
Parry contributed heavily to Lancashire’s only win of the 40-over season against Surrey with 5-17 as the hosts bounced back from scoring only 176-9 and then seeing the visitors reach 60-0 in the ninth over.
Unfortunately, however, they have also lost three matches and had the other rained off. And with only the top team in each seven-team group guaranteed a semi-final berth, the can ill-afford another slip-up - at least in the near future.
Before the break for Twenty20, Lancashire have three more Group B fixtures to come against Surrey, Essex at Chelmsford next Sunday and then Scotland under lights at Emirates Old Trafford two days later.
It could definitely do with being three wins from three: “Hopefully it's not too late if we can get on a bit of a run. We have to start by winning the next couple of games. We've got two big away games. If we manage to win them, you never know,” said Parry.
“We've had a slow start really. We've not always fired with the bat or the ball. It's been a bit up an down. We're trying our hardest to get it right though, and I'm sure we will do.”
Lancashire played a Championship match at Guildford last year, which finished in a draw due to rain. It is a match Paul Horton, Steven Croft and Kevin Pietersen will all remember fondly for scoring centuries.
In Pietersen’s case, his was a brilliant 234 not out as he took a particular liking to the bowling of Red Rose star Simon Kerrigan.
“I've never played there, but I know that's where Keggsy bowled to Pietersen last year,” said Parry. “It's been a pretty high-scoring Championship game there this week (between Surrey and Warwickshire), so it's going to be a tough challenge.
“They're the sort of places where if you have a good day as a spinner, you can give yourself a pat on the back.”
Parry enjoyed his first experience of captaining a first XI this week, although he has extensive experience in the role with the seconds. He even led them to a one-day Trophy title last September.
“I've done a bit in the seconds, but it's nice to get an opportunity in a first-team fixture. It was really enjoyable. For me to get asked is an honour,” he added.
“I just try to be relaxed and no different to how I would be without the role. I try to be calm and take time to look at things.
“What I usually find the hardest is working out when I should be bowling and not bowling too long, that kind of stuff. I've got to take advice from the keeper or the other senior players who are out there. I enjoy the tactical side of it the most.
“I'm getting a bit older now, a bit more senior. There's more responsibility on my shoulders.”
Squad: Glen Chapple (captain), Kabir Ali, Karl Brown, Jordan Clark, Steven Croft, Gareth Cross (wicketkeeper), Kyle Hogg, Simon Katich, Simon Kerrigan, Stephen Moore, Stephen Parry, Ashwell Prince, Wayne White