Hartley hoping to continue Red Rose's left-arm heritage
The young all-rounder is enjoying his introduction to First XI cricket and hopes to follow in the footsteps of some fine left-arm spinners
Lancashire have fielded some standout left-arm spinners in recent years, and Tom Hartley is hoping he can follow in the footsteps of the likes of Gary Keedy, Simon Kerrigan and Stephen Parry.
Hartley, 22, has played in three of the four Bob Willis Trophy games this season - his first taste of life in the Red Rose first team - and has followed up with appearances in both Vitality Blast matches at the time of writing.
The Ormskirk-born Academy product claimed three wickets on debut in defeat against Leicestershire at New Road and batted valuable time in the first innings of the draw against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge, hitting 13 not out off 71 balls.
Unfortunately, Hartley did not bat or bowl in the most recent Roses draw against Yorkshire at Emerald Headingley, a game which was shorn of 212 overs due to adverse weather.
But, still, he is loving every minute of his step up to first-team colours, something which has continued over into T20 cricket so far this summer.
“It’s been a great experience so far,” he said.
“It’s been nice to get around the lads a bit more. We’ve been away a lot in hotels, so you get to know them a bit more.
“You get to know people’s characteristics, and I’ve not played a lot with Dane (Vilas). I’ve been getting to know his captaincy style.
“I’ve had fun in the games and managed to contribute. So I’ve enjoyed it.”
He continued: “I’ve been pretty pleased so far (with my performances).
“As a bowler, you always want to take as many wickets as you can. But that’s not always your role. Sometimes you just need to hold up an end for the captain.
“The conditions haven’t been particularly helpful, but I’ve tried my best where I can.
“It was also nice to have a long bat at Notts. It was about batting for as long as possible so we didn’t lose the game - getting in that mindset of not letting anything get through.”
Hartley played Under 15s and Under 17s cricket for the Red Rose and made his debut for the second team in summer 2018.
“I like to look at myself as an all-rounder,” he explained after the Roses washout. “If you can’t do it with the ball, you always have a second chance to back it up.
“I didn’t get any wickets in that Notts game, but I felt I made up for it with the balls I faced and the partnership with Crofty (37-run stand in 18 overs for the seventh wicket).”
Hartley is a product of Liverpool Competition side Ormskirk, the club where 2011 County Championship winner Kerrigan played a lot of his cricket before moving back to Fulwood and Broughton CC in Preston.
“I’ve played a lot with Simon, and I’ve learnt a lot from him,” he said. “His game awareness is incredible, so it was nice to learn from him when I was younger. Stephen Parry, as well, has been around a lot and has been captain of the seconds.
“Paz has got loads of variations, which helps. He’s got a vast knowledge of experience, so I’ve just to tap into it as much as possible.”
Hartley made his T20 debut at Durham and sees the shortest format skills as the strongest as he aims to cement a place alongside Matt Parkinson and Steven Croft in a three-strong spin attack.
“I felt like that was the stronger part of my game last year - the T20 bowling (10 wickets in nine second-team matches). I’m just hoping to carry it on this year.”