Tom Bailey, a graduate of Lancashire’s Academy and Scholarship programmes, has become a valuable member of the club's bowling attack in County Championship cricket.
In the 2018 Specsavers County Championship season, Bailey finished as the division’s top wicket-taker with 64 scalps in 14 matches, despite Lancashire’s unfortunate relegation. A season later, he claimed a further 37 First-Class wickets from just nine matches due to a mid-season injury.
In a team full of experienced, high-quality seam bowlers, Bailey’s improvements have seen him become one of the go-to bowlers for the Red Rose.
Despite making his First-Class debut in the closing stages of 2012, the right-arm quick was subject to a bit-part role until a late-summer 10-wicket haul in defeat against Middlesex at Lord's in 2017 proved as a catalyst for the excellent two seasons that would follow.
He claimed five wickets in each innings, finishing with match figures of 10/98, still a career-best haul to date. Middlesex are an opponent he has enjoyed significant success, having taken 32 wickets up to the end of 2019 including five five-wicket hauls.
After that 2012 debut, he had to be patient for his next chance, which came towards the end of 2014 following an encouraging run of form in One-Day cricket, taking seven wickets in four 50-over matches, including a wicket with the sixth ball of his career against Essex at Chelmsford.
He played in three Championship matches against Durham, Yorkshire and Middlesex, taking three wickets in the latter fixture as well as demonstrating his prowess as a useful lower order batsman.
After his encouraging end to 2014, he was given a longer run in 2015 as Lancashire successfully claimed Championship promotion from Division Two.
He claimed a career best 5-12 as Leicestershire were bowled out for just 78 in the second innings of a landslide win at Grace Road, while he also contributed to Lancashire’s NatWest T20 Blast title success that summer.
Bailey’s 2016 campaign was heavily disrupted by a side injury, ruling him out of action for the best part of two months, but he made an impressive return in three Championship matches, taking 12 wickets.
His 5-111 against Somerset at Emirates Old Trafford included four wickets in seven balls, helping to secure a crucial draw in the successful bid to secure Division One status.
And following his encouraging end to 2017, he hit the ground running en route to becoming the top bowler in the country during 2018.
Despite only registering one five-wicket haul in the year, Bailey only went wicketless three times in an innings and was a constant menace, with his wickets costing less than 20 apiece.
A five-wicket haul started the 2019 season, inevitably against Middlesex, and his penultimate appearance brought a second career ten-wicket match haul, also against the Londoners at Emirates Old Trafford.
In 2020, Bailey was Lancashire's leading light in First-Class cricket, heading up a young bowling attack to finish with 13 First-Class wickets in four matches.
He also showed his prowess in limited-overs cricket, where opportunities have been more scarce for Bailey over the years. In the second North Group fixture at Leicestershire, he took the second best figures in Lancashire's history (5/17) while adding a fine, athletic catch at short cover.