Allott: Modern Lancashire synonymous with One-Day success
Lancashire's current Director of Cricket reflects on his playing career and being part of a stellar period in One-Day cricket
Paul Allott, Lancashire’s Director of Cricket, chuckles when he recalls a stellar playing career which yielded almost 1,000 wickets for county and country through the late seventies to early nineties.
“All I’m remembered for is getting a fifty on my Test debut and hitting a six to help Lancashire win the Refuge (Sunday) League in 1989!” he said.
“Out of the wickets I took, nobody really bothers about anything other than a couple of batting contributions.
“All bowlers like to think they can bat, and all bowlers who plod in like I did quickly realise you don’t get remembered for steaming in like Dennis Lillee or Malcolm Marshall. So the glamour is attached to hitting winning runs and that sort of thing.”
Allott’s tone of voice quickly tells you it is not something that bothers him, though: “Does it eck!” he confirms. “It amuses me quite a lot.”
Those batting performances - 52 not out in an Ashes victory at Old Trafford in 1981 and, eight years later, hitting a six in the final over when the last game of the season against Surrey was in the balance and a win was needed - were crucial, yet only small, parts of an impressive playing career.
He helped to kick-start the club’s ‘Kings of One-Day Cricket’ dominance from the mid-eighties and through the nineties, playing his part in five major trophy triumphs.
“I really enjoyed winning the Benson and Hedges Cup in 1984,” he said. “Your first major trophy is always one you remember. That was pretty special.
“But we played some fantastic cricket from 1987 onwards in particular. We got to the final of the NatWest Trophy in ’86 and lost, and that proved the turning point.
“Jack Bond and Peter Lever moved on, and David Hughes and Alan Ormrod took over as a captain/coach combination. That sort of kick-started a golden era of about 10 years through to the end of the nineties.
“I only played in the first four or five years of that, but it was a phenomenal period of success for Lancashire. We won the Refuge Cup 1988, we won the Refuge League the following year.
“We then won the B&H and the NatWest - the first county ever to win two knockout trophies in the same year - in 1990.
“We also got to the final of the B&H again in 1991, and then the next generation started to take over - Atherton, Gallian, Crawley, Chapple, Martin. That group took us through the nineties.”
Allott claimed 850 wickets in 494 appearances for Lancashire, though the trophies were much more satisfying.
And his drive for success remains undiminished. The Red Rose’s Director of Cricket since 2017, the county are yet to win silverware on his watch.
But, with the strength of the current squad, the chances are that will come sooner rather than later.
“The modern Lancashire is synonymous with success in One-Day cricket,” he added.
“When I say the ‘modern Lancashire’, I’m talking the last 50 years. We are the most successful One-Day side in the country.
“In fact, Wisden recently put us top of the lot as the most successful county for everything over a similar period. It’s not a bad period to be in, and it would be great to continue that.
“We are trying to win trophies in every single format. That’s what everyone at the club wants to see.”