Livingstone looking forward to the Vitality Blast
Lancashire are hoping to recapture the spirit of 2015 as they search to be crowned county cricket’s T20 champions for the second time.
The Lightning enjoyed a golden day at Edgbaston almost three years ago when they beat Hampshire in the semi-finals and then Northamptonshire in the final.
It was their sixth Finals Day appearance, yet their first title.
New captain Liam Livingstone was an ever-present during that campaign, his first year in the Red Rose’s first team, and he admitted: "I think it's still probably the best day of my cricketing career up to now.”
Unfortunately for Livingstone and co, they have suffered back-to-back group stage exits since, but the signs are good for an upturn in fortunes in the renamed Vitality Blast this summer. After all, talismanic all-rounder James Faulkner is back as overseas.
“It brings back that feel good factor we had that year,” continued Livingstone ahead of Thursday’s North Group opener against Worcestershire Rapids at Emirates Old Trafford (6.30pm).
“To bring James back into the side will be great for us to have that quality.
"All we've done over the last couple of years is add quality to the side, so hopefully we can mirror 2015.
"Everyone plays the game to win trophies, and that's what it's all about. From the start of the T20, it will be about doing all we can to win the tournament. We'll have a good go at it.”
Australian Faulkner returns to Lightning colours for the first of a two-year deal. In 2015, he claimed a competition high 25 wickets (alongside team-mate Stephen Parry) and hit 302 runs from 13 appearances.
Over the last fortnight, the 28-year-old has been warming up for the competition in Lancashire’s seconds.
"James was always our go to man,” said Livingstone.
“Hopefully this year we'll be able to use him in a similar way. And I'm confident we have a few more we can go to at certain times as well.
“The white ball cricket we have played up to now has been very good in parts, which is pretty exciting for me as captain. Hopefully we can kick on and win some T20 games.
"I think T20 is just one-day cricket speeded up a little bit. If you look at our one-day cricket, we've been pretty strong at the top of the order. That's something we haven't always been for the last couple of years.
"And, not putting too much pressure on him, we have a leg-spinner who you can go to at times to get wickets in Parky (Matthew Parkinson).
“I think we have a very strong team and a lot of areas covered. As captain, that's pretty exciting. I think we have a really strong squad to have a good go at it.”
Livingstone, who returns to county action after England Lions duty during the last fortnight, is relishing the challenge of captaining his side in the game’s shortest format and has promised a firebrand style of play.
He added: "I think we know wickets kill games. You don't really have a lot to lose. I think that will be the same bowling and batting.
“The more freedom you have, the more exciting cricket you play and the better team you become. I certainly won't be holding any of the lads back.”
Worcestershire, RL50 semi-finalists for the last two years running, have never reached Finals Day. They will field ex-Lancashire overseas batsman Martin Guptill, while Australian Callum Ferguson will fill their other overseas slot.
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BOOM...Blast is Back!
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2018 Lancashire Lightning T20 fixtures:
- Worcestershire Rapids, Thu 5 July - TICKETS
- Northants Steelbacks (Trafford LIVE), Sun 8 July - TICKETS
- Derbyshire Falcons (Bails & Ales), Sat 14 July - TICKETS
- Yorkshire Vikings, Fri 20 July - TICKETS
- Leicestershire Foxes (Fancy Dress), Fri 3 Aug - TICKETS
- Durham Jets, Tue 7 Aug - TICKETS
- Birmingham Bears (Friday Night LIVE), Fri 10 Aug - TICKETS