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Croft looking to extend lead at top

Croft looking to extend lead at top

Steven Croft says Lancashire deserve to be top of the Specsavers County Championship table.

And he is hoping they can put in another performance of note against Warwickshire this week to further enhance his view.

The Red Rose county sit on 88 points after six Division One matches.

They are level with Yorkshire, but hold sway courtesy of having won three matches to the White Rose’s two.

There are a number of people from pundits to supporters and bookmakers who had Warwickshire down as one of the title favourites in pre-season alongside back-to-back champions Yorkshire.

Lancashire weren’t supposed to challenge having only just come up from Division Two.

But Croft and company have played some excellent cricket this year in the Championship, particularly at Emirates Old Trafford, where they have won three from three.

And the captain sees no reason why they can’t make it four from four, despite heading into the fixture on the back of successive defeats in the Royal London one-day Cup and the NatWest T20 Blast.

“It will be nice to get back to red ball and try to extend our lead at the top of the table,” said Croft.

“I think quite a few people are surprised that we’re up there, but we’re there because we deserve to be. Hopefully we’ll stay there after this week.

“Warwickshire are another good side, but they are coming to our place, where we have done well this year. It will be a great test against some good players.”

Championship cricket has taken a back seat for the last two-and-a-half weeks, with limited overs cricket being played across the country.

“The season can pass you by week by week, so we have to sit down in the morning and remind ourselves why we are top of the league and what we’ve done well to get there,” said Croft.

The skipper will continue to keep wicket against a Bears side who are sat in mid-table having won one, lost one and drawn their other four Championship matches.

Following the injury to Alex Davies and Jos Buttler’s unavailability, he kept in the defeat against Yorkshire at Headingley and was superb.

And still with no Davies and Buttler, the latter having just returned to England ODI duty, Croft has opted to continue behind the stumps.

“I quite enjoyed it last time,” he added. “Unfortunately we are losing Jos, but I feel for balance that it will be a good move for us.

“Hopefully it will be as tidy as last time (he only conceded one bye in each innings).”

Lancashire coach Ashley Giles comes up against his former side for the first time in a Championship match since arriving at Emirates Old Trafford ahead of last season.


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