Lancashire’s bowling has been acceptable, if little more than that. Lancashire’s batting has been as embarrassing as the thought of Henry Blofeld calling someone a ‘dude’.
We’ve done the statistics about Lancashire’s batsmen already, but here are some updates. Mal Loye had previously scored 103 runs from 12 innings – now he has 103 runs from 13 innings. Also, to be fair, Mark Chilton has now hit a hundred.
We’re going to use Mark Chilton as an example though, along with Stuart Law. They’re emblematic of Lancashire’s batting woes. Chilton is an okay batsman, but with a first-class average of 32, he should find it harder to get into the side. Stuart Law is ageing and deteriorating year after year and would fit in well at Surrey. This is Lancashire’s batting line-up in a nutshell.
Many years ago, Lancashire used to spew out batsman without pausing for breath or to wipe their mouths. They didn’t even clean their teeth between the heaves. Neil Fairbrother, Graham Lloyd, Mike Atherton, John Crawley – it was all so easy.
The thing is, once Lancashire had retched themsleves dry, there was a period where no-one noticed. Most of those players were still in the team and it wasn’t until they retired that everyone suddenly panicked.
At that point, they did the only thing they could do. They signed Mal Loye and, er, Iain Sutcliffe and bolstered the middle order with a series of overseas pros. They’ve been doing this ever since.
Stuart Law’s 39. Mal Loye’s 35. Brad Hodge has no reason to be loyal. It’s not like this season’s batting abominations were unforseeable and it’s all the worse for the fact that it had happened before.
In Paul Horton and, surprisingly but increasingly impressively, Steven Croft, Lancashire have a top opener and an all-rounder who can actually bat rather than just chip in. Under no circumstances should these two be separated by ageing, deteriorating ‘stars’ in division two. There shouldn’t be any need for it and it would be a continuation of the short-term view that’s been taken.
There’s been some robust paper over these cracks, but paper’s still paper.