Lancashire’s Steven Croft looks forward to resuming T20 battle with Yorkshire
Steven Croft and Glenn Maxwell, on opposite sides in 2015, were part of a moment which will forever be etched into Roses T20 folklore.
Now, four years on, they are in the same camp bidding for more wow moments as Lancashire aim for glory in this season’s Vitality Blast.
Maxwell, playing for Yorkshire at the time, played an audacious switch hit which sailed for six over the cover boundary off the very first ball of the match at Emerald Headingley.
But the Lightning went on to win as Jos Buttler’s brilliant 71 not out underpinned a successful chase of 186 with the very last ball of the match.
That six was not the Australian’s only contribution to that fixture, as Croft explained ahead of Thursday’s latest sold-out Roses clash at Headingley (7pm).
“We’ve mentioned it a few times, but for me that’s been put to bed now,” he said, tongue in cheek, with Maxwell having signed for Lancashire this summer.
“Maxi missed the run out of Jos at the end in that game, so we had the last laugh.
“He can hit the first ball for six, but he lost the game for them!”
All joking aside, Croft is delighted to have Maxwell on his side.
On Sunday, the pair shared 93 runs in 8.3 overs for the second-wicket to steer Lancashire towards a thumping win over Durham at Emirates Old Trafford to get their North Group campaign up and running after a no result at Leicester on Friday.
“His experience in every league going around and for Australia, you see what a difference he makes,” said Croft.
“He felt he was light run-wise in the World Cup, but he changes games.”
Added to 58 off 33 balls against Durham, Maxwell also affected two run outs in the defence of a 190 target.
“Maxi is probably not just one of the best fielders in the game but probably ever,” said Croft, the 34-year-old who has been one of the very best fielders himself in county cricket over the past decade and more.
“He might be slightly more agile than me.
“He can pick some of the younger lads like Josh Bohannon up with him. Having someone like him really changes the dynamic of the side.
“I felt like that’s what I had when Faf du Plessis was here in 2008 and 2009. We had a good fielding unit then as well.”
Croft opened the batting for the first time in 10 years against Durham – owing to Liam Livingstone’s intercostal injury – and hit 65 not out.
He is enjoying an excellent season, having starred in the county’s early season run to the Royal London One-Day Cup semi-finals with 516 runs, the second-best haul in the competition.
He scored a century in a thrilling one-run Roses win at Headingley on April Bank Holiday Monday.
“You want to play in these fixtures,” he said.
“As a county pro, the Roses T20 is probably the closest you’ll get to international cricket.
“We had a shortened game at home last year, which was a great spectacle. And rolling off the back of the World Cup and the great crowd we had against Durham (13,710), those are the games you want to be involved in.”
Given he is now opening the batting, would he consider switch-hitting the first ball of the match for six?
“No, I don’t think so,” he added. “Maybe it would be more a muscled plink over long-off.”