Luke Procter believes a key stage of Lancashire's development as a team is enhancing their reputation in one-day cricket
The all-rounder from Royton is obviously targeting the defence of the Red Rose’s LV= County Championship title in 2012, but he is also keen to see himself and his team-mates push on against the white ball.
The Lightning have come close to success in both 50-over and Twenty20 cricket in recent seasons, reaching a number of quarter-finals and semi-finals, while they also showed signs of promise with five wins from their final eight Clydesdale Bank 40 matches last summer.
Had they beaten Essex Eagles at Old Trafford in mid-August, they would have been in firmly in the mix for a last four spot despite blooding youngsters, including Procter, and resting key players throughout much of their campaign.
Procter, 23 years old and with 16 List A games under his belt, said: “We obviously want to defend our Championship trophy, but we want to be successful in one-day cricket too.
“We've got a good one-day side. We got to the semi-final of the Twenty20. We haven't been doing quite as well in CB40, although we did have a really good run towards the end of last season's competition.”
Like the majority of his team-mates, Procter is back in the thick of pre-season training at Old Trafford as the 2012 campaign looms larger on the horizon.
“It's been pretty hard actually,” he continued of the winter schedule. “We'd done quite a lot of fitness stuff before Christmas, which we're back into again now. We generally start off with fitness in the morning and then we go into cricket later in the day. It's then almost like being in a game situation, maybe the second or third day of a four-day match where you’re maybe a little bit more tired.
“We've done scenario work for the last couple of years too. The first year Mooresy came in we didn't really do it. We kept fitness and cricket separate. But, for the last two years, we've started fitness before we start doing the cricket.
“As we get closer to the season, we'll start a competition against each other, maybe batters against bowlers. We're split into two teams to try and get points. It gets quite competitive because all the lads are desperate to win.”
While expecting to feature regularly on the limited overs stage last term – he played nine CB40 and 15 FLt20 matches – the left-handed batsman and right-arm seam bowler admitted to being surprised at playing seven times in the Championship.
He scored 366 runs, including two fifties, and took nine wickets. His best innings of 89 came against Sussex at Hove and best bowling figures of 3-33 against Warwickshire at Edgbaston. He finished top of the batting averages with an average of 40.66.
“I can't believe I played that many games. I was absolutely over the moon with it,” he commented.
Procter, who signed professional terms ahead of the 2010 campaign, came onto the staff from academy and scholarship deals with a reputation as a batsman who bowls.
And it is something which he readily confirms: “I'm not really known for my bowling, but I enjoy taking the odd wicket.
“It helps to give the team an extra option, to mix things up. I'm quite different with my action. If two batsmen are set, I'd generally get brought on to hopefully get the breakthrough.
“When we do the drills, Mooresy always tells me that I've got to see myself as a wicket-taking bowler. Before Christmas I worked on my batting a little bit more, and probably only bowled about 15 overs at the most. But I'll be stepping it up more towards the season.”
Procter will travel to the Emirates with Lancashire in March for their pre-season tour – his second as a professional after visiting Barbados in 2010.
And he is understandably hoping for a better experience after suffering a broken hand in the Caribbean.
He added: “I'm looking forward to the tour. I went to Barbados a couple of years ago, but hopefully I'll get to play a bit more this time. We will be trying to beat the MCC and prove ourselves again.”
Photo (c) Simon Pendrigh
Article (c) Lancashire CCC Ltd