Steven Croft insists that Lancashire have not given up on the Clydesdale Bank 40 competition, even though for everyone connected to the county it is the thrilling start to the LV= Championship campaign that has become the overwhelming priority.
Three wins from the first four fixtures have fired Lancashire to the top of the first division table, whereas in one-day cricket they have gone down to Essex and Glamorgan and even struggled to beat the Unicorns at Old Trafford.
But Croft, the 26-year-old all-rounder who took over as captain when Glen Chapple sat out the Essex game, sounded genuinely miserable after the latest defeat by Glamorgan, and certainly gave no hint of a dressing room that has already written off their 40-over campaign.
“We should be doing better than that,” he grunted. “No disrespect to Glamorgan, but we should be beating sides like that on our home ground. With the team we’ve got, we need to start fronting up in the one-dayers.”
Croft conceded that the game against Somerset at Taunton on May 15 has already become a must-win if Lancashire are to retain any chance of making the quarter finals.
But for the majority of Red Rose supporters – if not for the players – that game is a virtual irrelevance compared to what follows it: a return to Championship action with the eagerly-awaited Roses Match that is also historic this summer, as it will be played at Aigburth.
“It’s definitely something to look forward to,” added Croft, who has a good record against the old enemy and played one of his finest innings as Lancashire salvaged a draw in an Old Trafford thriller last year. “It’s always a good competitive environment against Yorkshire, with a bit more on the game.”
It will be fascinating to see what side Peter Moores selects for the trip to Taunton, as for all the talk of the thinness of Lancashire’s squad they suddenly have plenty of options.
James Anderson is available for the Roses Match at Liverpool – and relishing the prospect – so will presumably link up again with Chapple. But Sajid Mahmood and Farveez Maharoof, who were both omitted from the dramatic win against Warwickshire at Edgbaston last week, will surely be considered again after performing so impressively in the last match at Aigburth.
Maharoof’s availability remains in some doubt following his late Sri Lanka call for the opening game of their tour against Middlesex which starts at Uxbridge next Saturday. But as things stand he will then return to Lancashire in time for the Roses Match, unless the tourists ask him to stay on for their second fixture against the England Lions in Derby.
‘The Roof’ has already underlined how much he is enjoying his stint in England by turning down the chance of a spell in the IPL with Mumbai.
Lancashire, meanwhile, are unlikely to go into the Roses Match with two left arm spinners, which means Simon Kerrigan could easily find himself dropped on the back of figures of five for seven – assuming Gary Keedy, who chipped in with three for two in Warwickshire’s spectacular second innings collapse, remains the first twirler picked.
That could leave Tom Smith, Kyle Hogg, Oliver Newby, Mahmood and Maharoof battling for two positions – which could, in turn, provide an extra edge to Lancashire’s CB40 performance at Taunton.