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Croft looking forward to Somerset friendly

Croft looking forward to Somerset friendly

Croft looking forward to Somerset friendly

Steven Croft expects a high-intensity clash with Division One rivals Somerset next week as Lancashire continue preparations for the new season.

The Red Rose skipper leads a 14-man squad down to Taunton Vale for a three-day friendly, starting on Monday, with Jimmy Anderson named.

It will be the second successive pre-season in which the two counties have faced off in friendly conditions in the West Country.

Somerset are expected to be led by new signing and captain Chris Rogers, the former Australia Test match opener.

Lancashire’s final pre-season friendly will then be another three-dayer, against the students of Cambridge University at Fenner’s on April 11.

Croft and co start their Specsavers County Championship campaign against Nottinghamshire at Emirates Old Trafford the following Sunday.

“We played Somerset last year in a friendly, and it felt like a first-class game,” said the all-rounder. “It felt like the start of the season against good opposition on a good wicket.

“We’re doing that and then Cambridge the week after. It’s going to put us in a good place, hopefully, for Notts at home.

“We obviously want to get off to a flyer, and there’s going to be results in April and wins up for grabs. Hopefully we can get on a role, so these friendlies can only help.

“It’s not ideal that we’ve only got one game in the first three weeks, but it’s a chance for us to stay fresh.”

Anderson could be available for as many as the first three Championship matches of the summer, with his England commitments not kicking in until shortly before the first Test of the summer against Sri Lanka on May 19.

“Jimmy’s starting with us for the first few games, and it’s a massive boost,” said Croft.

“I think I’m right in saying that he loves being around us, and when he is, he is one of the lads. We don’t see him as an England player. He mucks in, and he’s a Lancashire player. He puts everything on the line, as he does for England.

“He’s just as competitive when he comes back to us, which is fantastic.

“To have him back early season is a great time. He will be fresh after his winter break, and he will want to get into some form for the summer.

“There’s no one else in the world you’d rather have in your side than James Anderson.”

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