Croft looking ahead to 2017 season
Lancashire Captain Steven Croft is already relishing taking part in the first historic round of Day/Night fixtures in the Specsavers County Championship against Warwickshire next summer.
The day/night matches – hosted by Essex, Hampshire, Warwickshire and Yorkshire in Division One, and Durham, Glamorgan, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire and Sussex in Division Two – will all start on Monday June 26, and be played with pink Dukes balls.
The move is designed to help broaden the audience for the four-day game and also give England players an opportunity to experience the conditions ahead of another slice of history later in the 2017 summer – Edgbaston hosting this country’s first ever day/night Test Match between England and West Indies (Aug 17-21).
Lancashire Captain Steven Croft said on his experience of playing Day/Night cricket, "Obviously we’ve done it in Abu Dhabi which was four or five years ago with the pink ball but it’s going to be really interesting and exciting.
"The pink ball is quite nice to see in the afternoon and when it’s much darker, but it’s the twilight period that can be quite difficult. It takes some adjusting to so I think the preparation going into the game is going to be really important, ensuring we practice under lights and get used to it a bit more. Hopefully the day/night games will spark some interest in the four-day game and get people talking about it.
"I think with the two less games in Division One this year, it will give us a bit more time to prepare. The County Championship doesn’t need remodelling but small tweaks here hopefully will really improve the competition.
Croft also believes the decision to play the NatWest T20 Blast in a block in the height of summer will improve the standard of cricket.
"I think the Friday night fixtures were good and came at the right time but next year, with the fixtures in a block, I think you’ll see a higher standard of cricket. It will be great for the players that we’ll be able to train with specific skills in mind for a significant period of time. In the last few years, we’ve been chopping and changing so much.
"It will also be easier for counties to bring in top quality overseas players for the whole competition. This year, we’ll have James Faulkner back, but in previous years, it’s not been easy for the top level players to commit.
"It’s exciting that we’ll be playing a NatWest T20 Blast fixture at Blackpool next year. I’m sure it will be a sell-out and a great occasion for all our supporters. It’s not often that we play T20 fixtures away from Emirates Old Trafford, I think the last one was in 2009 at Liverpool, and clearly being from Blackpool, I’m excited to be playing at my home ground.
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