Exclusive Steven Croft Lancashire cricket column
It was great to get up and running in the County Championship with a win against a good Nottinghamshire side. It had been coming.
In the previous two games we’d played some really good cricket and we finally got it all together on what was a helpful pitch last week.
We were by the far the better side out of the two.
They were top of the table before the game and it was a great message to send and a good way to end the first Championship phase of the season.
Out of the five games we were probably outplayed in two of them.
In the other three games we were the better side and I think deserved that win.
We could be in a better position than sixth but looking at the table it’s still quite tight.
It’s early days but there’s not much to split the whole division and that will probably be the case for the majority of the summer.
We want to look to the positives but 25 per cent of the division do go down so you want to keep winning to finish as high as you can.
Every team has to look at both ends of the table but we’re looking up.
Our innings win was sealed by some great bowling from Jimmy Anderson and Graham Onions.
They split the wickets between them and they were a class act really.
They’re both 35 now and really experienced, but it shows you can’t really beat that know-how.
They kept asking the batsmen questions in the right areas and got their rewards with a lot of wickets LBW, caught behind and bowled from great deliveries and just hammering away every ball of every over.
After surprising everyone with his white hair when he first came back, Jimmy went back to his normal look for this game.
He said he was having a mid-life crisis and didn’t get the colour he asked for.
I think he suits the old look better!
It’s been great to have him around. We don’t have him for a long period but he comes back in and slots in without any problems.
There’s no period of adjustment, he just comes in and usually performs really well before he goes back to England.
He’s on international duty this time around with another Lancashire player in Jos Buttler, who has been recalled for the first Test against Pakistan.
He’s obviously a talented player and one of those that bowlers hate playing against.
He’s not really kicked on in red-ball cricket but he’s got this opportunity and I think him coming in at six or seven in a Test match is going to be daunting for a bowler.
There’s a new head of selectors in Ed Smith, he’s made quite a bold a decision and hopefully for Jos and Lancs it comes off.
He’s an immense talent with the bat which we’ve seen in the Indian Premier League recently and hopefully he can bring that confidence to England.
That goes a long way in cricket and if you’re in great form you have to make the most of it.
Sometimes if you’re not in great form you don’t know where your next run is coming from.
But the other end of the scale is you’re on 30 or 40 wondering how you even got there.
Hopefully Jos will get given a licence to play his white-ball game whereas in the past he’s maybe not been sure what tempo to go at.
Traditionally you have got all day to bat but hopefully he gets it together in the Test matches.
He’s probably one of the most exciting players in the world. He can hit a bowler anywhere on the park.
If he gets in full flow it will be brilliant to watch.
Back to Lancashire and we now turn our attentions to the Royal London One-Day Cup.
We’ve probably under-performed in the 50-over game in recent years with the side we’ve had.
We have got a really competitive squad and some really good one-day players so hopefully we can string it all together.
The start of the competition is vital with that.
In the last few years we’ve started slowly and then built up a bit of momentum but it’s been too late.
There are only eight group games in the competition so if you have a couple of rain-affected ones every win becomes really vital.
You don’t want to be waiting for that first win to come.
Everyone’s excited. We’ve got quite a young and fresh squad and we all love playing white-ball cricket.
Steven Croft is celebrating his testimonial year and was talking to Adam Lord