The 2018 county cricket season gets underway this Friday and Lancashire County Cricket Club begin their campaign at home to newly promoted Nottinghamshire.

Lancashire had a solid season in 2017, securing a second-place finish in the Specsavers County Championship – finishing only behind Essex.

How are Lancashire looking in four-day cricket ahead of the season?

The Red Rose county will be looking to go one step further than last year and win their first County Championship title since 2011.

The squad has no fewer than nine players who have tasted test cricket in the past. This shows the strength and experience that the county has.

Have there been any new signings over the winter?

Management at Emirates Old Trafford will be delighted following the signings of Durham duo Graham Onions and Keaton Jennings during the close season.

Pace bowler Onions, 35, adds a wealth of experience to the squad with 619 first-class wickets to his name in 169 matches.

His teammate, Keaton Jennings, also made the switch from Durham to Lancashire, in order to boost his chances of an England recall. The 25-year-old will be looking to make an impression in the top tier of Championship cricket.

Graham Onions

Who is their overseas player in 2018?

Australian Joe Mennie has agreed to join the county in 2018 and is eligible to play in all three formats.

The 29-year-old from New South Wales is a right arm fast-medium bowler who has 213 first-class wickets in 58 matches.

He had a stellar season last year for South Australia, claiming 30 wickets in 10 matches at an average of 33.83.

Players to watch in 2018

A player to watch this season is wicketkeeper-batsman Alex Davies. Davies had a strong year last year, scoring 916 championship runs at an average of 39.82. With a high score of 140 not out, the 23-year-old struck three centuries as well as three half centuries.

Davies penned a new two-year deal during the close season. The new deal will see him stay at Emirates Old Trafford until at least the end of the 2020 season.

Another name to keep an eye on in 2018 is Haseeb Hameed. Hameed had a quiet year last year as he only managed to strike three championship fifties, with a high score of 88. Hameed will be looking to impress national selectors as he eyes a return to the international stage.

Haseeb Hameed for Lancashire
Haseeb Hameed
Credit: PA

How did pre-season go for the Red Roses?

The side had a successful pre-season tour to Dubai, where the squad played against quality local opposition as well as Glamorgan.

Many batsmen made contributions. Karl Brown and Steven Croft both scored half centuries as young 21-year-old Haseeb Hameed went one step further, scoring a century against Glamorgan.

Karl Brown - PA Image
Karl Brown
Credit: PA

Lancashire travelled to Loughborough University at the weekend to contest in a three-day match. Rain affected the match, which resulted in the two sides drawing.

There were however positives to take from the trip. Keaton Jennings set the foundation, scoring 44 in a knock that included seven boundaries.

Steven Croft top scored with 148 not out as he continued to impress before the curtain raiser on Friday.

On the bowling front, youngster Saqib Mahmood led the way as he took 3 for 53, while Graham Onions, Jordan Clark and Matthew Parkinson chipped in with two wickets each.

What are their chances in white ball cricket this year?

As the squad push to go a step further in 2018 and win the County Championship, they will be looking to improve their white ball game too.

Having finished fourth and seventh in their respective groups in the Royal London One Day Cup and NatWest T20 Blast, reaching the knockout phases this time around should be achievable.

2017 club captain Steven Croft would have been bitterly disappointed by the performance of the county in the Royal London One Day Cup.

Lancashire narrowly missed out on qualification for the knockout stage by finishing fourth behind Worcestershire, Nottinghamshire and White Rose rivals Yorkshire.

There is potential within the Lancashire camp and coach Glen Chapple will be expecting big things in the coming months.

South African Dane Vilas impressed last year, scoring 408 runs with a strike rate of 113.64. He’ll be looking to pick up where he left off last June.

Lancashire Lightning kick off their 2018 Royal London One Day Cup campaign on May 17 against Nottinghamshire under the floodlights at Emirates Old Trafford.

Lancashire Lightning
Lancashire Lightning
Credit: PA

The exciting addition of James Faulkner for the Vitality T20 Blast means that Lancashire Lightning should be a contender this season.

Australian Faulkner has an impressive T20 record. He has scored more than 1,500 runs in the shortest and most explosive format of the game.

To add to all those runs, he has more than 200 wickets under his belt as well. He has a strike rate of 16.3 with the ball – so expect the Tasmanian to dazzle under the lights in the upcoming season.

There are others around him that can impress in the format, so there are promising signs that Lancashire can compete this year.

Lancashire Lightning begin their quest for glory in the Vitality T20 Blast against the Worcestershire Rapids at Emirates Old Trafford on July 5.

County ins/outs in 2018

In: Keaton Jennings, Graham Onions (both Durham), Liam Hurt, Josh Bohannon (both youth) Out: Luke Proctor (Northants) Kyle Jarvis Overseas: Joe Mennie (Aus, April to early September), James Faulkner (Aus, T20)







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