Promotion is a word on the lips of many around Emirates Old Trafford as Lancashire prepare for a summer in the second tier of the Specsavers County Championship.
The Red Rose disappointed many in 2018 – a year which provided so much hope for their fans after finishing runners up in the County Championship the previous year.
Batting was a discipline which let the side down, with the top order struggling for collective form. Moments of individual brilliance was often marred by those around the man of the moment.
Glenn Chapple, the Lancashire Head Coach, has tried to bring about change at the top of the order by bringing in the flamboyant Australian batsman Joe Burns for 2019.
The 29-year-old Queenslander squeezed his way back into the Australian Test side over the winter and managed a high-score of 180 and averaged 68. It is thought that he has travelled to the UK in a bid to earn a spot in the Australian Ashes squad later on in the summer.
He’s not the only addition, as fellow Australian, Glenn Maxwell, has joined the club. The 30-year-old is well known around the world for his power hitting and his match-winning ability – both of which should come in handy during the Royal London One-Day Cup which starts next week.
A player to look out for in 2019 is fast-medium bowler, Tom Bailey. Bailey enjoyed success in the County Championship last season – claiming 64 wickets just 19 apiece. The award-winning bowler then travelled with the England Lions on their tour of India after Christmas.
The return of record-breaking swing bowler James Anderson will be welcomed by all connected to the club. The 36-year-old is expected to play in seven of the county’s 10 County Championship matches prior to the Ireland Test match which gets underway on July 24.
White-ball cricket brought mixed fortunes last season. Lancashire Lightning reached Finals Day in the Vitality T20 Blast – losing out to Moeen Ali’s Worcestershire Rapids in the first semi-final at Edgbaston.
The less said about the 50-over competition the better, as Liam Livingstone and his men failed to qualify for the knockout stages of the competition, finishing sixth in the North Group.
Livingstone, who is currently enjoying a lucrative stint in the star-studded Indian Premier League has forfeited the captaincy this year in hope of finding personal form. Former South African international, Dane Vilas, has stepped in after enjoying a brief spell as leader last season.
Youth will play a big part in Lancashire’s season as the likes of Brooke Guest, George Lavelle and George Balderson start to flourish,
Lancashire kick off their 2019 campaign on Thursday with a trip to Lord’s to play the 2016 County champions and fellow promotion hopefuls, Middlesex.
In: Richard Gleeson (Northamptonshire), George Lavelle, George Balderson
Out: Jordan Clark (Surrey), Arron Lilley (Leicestershire), Simon Kerrigan, Karl Brown (Both released)
Overseas: Joe Burns (Australia), Glenn Maxwell (Australia), James Faulkner (Australia, T20)