Saturday, April 17, 2010
The next team I would like to preview is Lancashire. Of course if I think of Lancs, it is hard to get away from the fact that though the team has usually been good yet, haven't won a championship since 1950 which is a sad fact for any Lancs fan though, it can be said that weather doesn't help lol.
Lancashire play most of their cricket at Old Trafford. I always reckon that Old Trafford ground usually has the best pitch in England as there would be something in it for all the bowlers and batsmen too can enjoy the true bounce.
Lancashire would be again be captained by the experienced all-rounder Chapple and are coached by the former England's coach Moores. Anyway let us have a look at the squad.
I think most Lancs fans would agree with me that the team does lack batting depth and it has been the case for sometime now. Lancashire have paid big amount to get Moore from Worcestershire. Moore has had his moments in the second division, but the jury is still out on him. Occasionally he has looked like a decent player, but in first division hasn't had much success. Paul Horton was consistent for a few seasons, but had a lacklustre season last year. His tendency to play from the crease hasn't helped him. After not doing well for sometime, the former captain of Lancashire Chilton proved his worth as a middle-order batsman in 2009. Perhaps opening the batting didn't help, but he has to be consistent as succeeding for just one season doesn't make anyone a decent player. Lancashire need him to do well for sure as the batting can be fragile. Prince was in superb form last season and the management would hope the gutsy lefthander can do well again. Sutton the former Derbyshire player is a decent wicketkeeper and can get useful runs lower down the order though, struggles to get big scores and it can be said that some may get bored by his defensive batting lol. I think Lancs should look at selecting Cross as Sutton isn't getting any younger.
Lancashire would miss the services of Laxman, Loye and Plessis. Laxman was in great touch in 07 and 09 but won't play this year, Loye has been a consistent run-getter for Lancashire for a considerable period of time, but has gone back to his old county Northamptonshire and Plessis can't play under new regulations. Lancs have signed the experienced and the classy Sangakkara, but it doesn't look like he may play too many matches for the team because of international commitments. The management would likely sign the banned Pakistani cricketer Younis Khan as their overseas player for the next season as Sanga won't be available for most of the time. Shankar and Brown are decent prospects, but haven't yet got a permanent place in the side.
The captain of the side Chapple can be considered as a all-rounder. He started his career as a out and out quick as I remember him and another local lad Henderson terrorising batsmen, but with age has lost pace and looks to depend on accuracy. In recent times he has also improved his batting. The problem with Chapple is, he has a tendency to over bowl himself. Tom Smith can be considered as a all-rounder as well, but I still can't fathom him opening the batting as he isn't good enough to open the innings. The management likely want to go with 5 bowlers, but even if one considers that, it is still hard to fathom Smith with a fc average of below 30 opening the batting. As a bowler Smith does have a fine inswinger and I still think that he should concentrate mainly on his bowling. Of course there is Freddie Flintoff, but it doesn't look like he will play any time soon as at present he is still recovering from a knee injury. The hard hitting batsman Croft has been below par for Lancahsire, but has started this season on a good note as he scored a fifty in the first innings against Warwickshire. He can also bowl a bit medium pace, but is more useful for one-day cricket. The nippy seamer Kyle Hogg is still in the squad, but just hasn't been able to fulfill the potential that he showed when he first played for Lancahsire in 2001 and I have to add that injuries haven't helped him.
Of course there is Anderson, but these days he is a regular member of the England team. Yes, he may play in a few matches like at present he is playing against the Bears team, but one expects Lancashire to miss the services of their main bowler for most of the season. I have always liked Newby as a bowler as he can get a bit of bounce and is sharp, but has been in and out of the side. Mahmood has already played for England, but even after playing in CC for about 8 years he still struggles to bowl line and length. He has the talent but just hasn't fulfilled his potential yet, it can be said that Mahmood has been a decent bowler for Lancashire in CC. I still can't understand why Powell was signed by the management as he has been below par for the Caribbean team. He can occasionally bowl a great spell like at Guyana in 2004/05 against the Saffers team when he destroyed the Saffer top order on a flat deck with sheer pace and bounce and troubled KP in a few T/20 games, but other than that he has been wayward and listless. The big blow for Lancahsire is, their main spinner Keedy is out with a fractured collarbone and may not play for months together. It is a huge setback for Lancahsire as he has been consistent as a spinner.
Among others, Parry seemed to be promising but has been leapfrogged by another spinner Kerrigan who, at present is playing instead of Keedy. Cheetham is a tall young quick bowler, but may not get too many chances as Lancashire's management seem to be wary of blooding youngsters.
Lancashire have a decent line up, but again would likely miss out on winning the championship as the squad lacks depth in batting.