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Chapple looking forward to welcoming Anderson back into the Lancashire fold

Chapple looking forward to welcoming Anderson back into the Lancashire fold

Chapple looking forward to welcoming Anderson back into the Lancashire fold

Glen Chapple knows there is a tough selection call in the offing, but the Lancashire coach is only too happy to make it as he welcomes back Jimmy Anderson for the next two Specsavers County Championship matches.

Anderson faces second-placed Somerset at Emirates Old Trafford from Friday and then leaders Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge a week later as he prepares for England’s summer of Test Matches against Pakistan and India.

Lancashire started the season with back-to-back Championship defeats against Notts and Essex before dominating a home draw against Surrey last time out.

And their seam bowling has been the most impressive aspect of their play so far, despite many believing that the batting would be the strongest suit.

Tom Bailey has taken 16 wickets in three games, Australian overseas quick Joe Mennie 12 and fellow new recruit Graham Onions 11.

Even all-rounders Jordan Clark and Steven Croft have made strong cases to remain in the side if coach Chapple was to opt for four specialist seamers.

To further complicate things, we haven’t even considered the fact that no specialist spinner played against Surrey, with Chapple indicating leg-spinner Matt Parkinson would have played had Friday’s first day not been washed out. There is every chance Parkinson will return against Somerset.

But someone has to make way in order to accommodate the class of 35-year-old Anderson, whose Red Rose Championship record is superb.

Since debuting in 2002, he has taken 276 wickets from 69 matches at 23.56 with 16 hauls of five wickets or more, including a best of 7-77.

“We will have a difficult decision to make,” said Chapple.

“We are obviously very happy with the seam attack we’ve got, but Jimmy coming back will only strengthen it.

“I think after this performance (against Surrey), we’ve got to look at what we’ve done well in this game, but we all know that Jimmy is going to fight for Lancashire and bring some class to the team as well.

“We’ve got competition already, but all teams that want to do well for the whole season will have competition.

“That’s something the lads spoke about at the start of the year. Those who miss out have got to keep fighting their way with good performances when they get chance to get into the team.

“Jimmy brings skill, character, quality and commitment. I think everyone knows what he brings. He’s done it every year for us for as long as I can remember.

“Two games from Jimmy means a lot, and I can’t remember a season where he hasn’t had a major influence on us winning a game - if not, more than that. I’m sure he’ll be up for doing that again.”

Somerset arrive at Emirates Old Trafford riding high in Division One.

Last season’s nearly men in terms of relegation have won their first two games of the season - Worcestershire and Yorkshire - for the first time since 1993 and sit five points behind early leaders Nottinghamshire.

Their Australian overseas opener Matthew Renshaw has scored two centuries already, including a belligerent 112 against the White Rose at Taunton on Saturday.

Chapple, however, is confident his players can make Somerset’s first road trip of 2018 a miserable one.

“Anyone who watched the Surrey game from start to finish knows the boys are playing well and are here to fight for everything they can get in this division,” he added.

“We’ve shown that we’re a match for anybody.”

Chapple will monitor the fitness of Alex Davies and Shiv Chanderpaul, who suffered finger and groin injuries respectively against Surrey.

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