Exclusive Steven Croft Lancashire cricket column

Lancashire celebrate taking a wicket against Yorkshire in last year's T20 Blast competition, which the Red Rose won in 2015 with Croft as captain
Lancashire celebrate taking a wicket against Yorkshire in last year's T20 Blast competition, which the Red Rose won in 2015 with Croft as captain
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Away from Old Trafford the big news this week was the ECB’s announcement of a potential new 100-ball competition in a couple of years.

To be honest, I’m a bit surprised about it all really.

I feel T20 as a format works. It’s an exciting concept and I thought bringing franchise T20 cricket to the UK was what people wanted and would have quenched everyone’s thirst for wanting city-based cricket and it would have been enough.

It’s a bit of a strange one, I really can’t get my head around some of it, especially the final 10-ball over.

We’ll have to see how to pans out.

It’s hard enough to explain cricket to non-cricket lovers anyway and having four different formats is going to bamboozle people.

I know the players have got a little bit of a say through the PCA and I’m sure they’ll express their feelings.

Looking back, when T20 was introduced I think people almost didn’t take that seriously at first.

At that time you had the Pro40 comp and you had the one-day comp so that was going to be the fourth format then.

But the crowds got bigger and the prize money went up and then the Champions League came along a few years after and people really started to take it seriously.

I’m not sure how this new one will catch on or if they’re trying to reinvent the wheel again but when T20 first came around it seemed a bit bizarre.

Hopefully if they do go down the route of the 100-ball competition then it might have the same effect but it’s a bit of a risk.

In an ideal world, although I love 50-over cricket you’d probably settle for a four-day comp, franchise T20 and club T20.

What was going to happen was the franchises were going to play in the one-day period so I don’t think your best limited overs players were going to play in that competition anyway.

It’s a declining competition and the ECB have taken away the Lord’s final from Twenty20, which devalues it for me.

Growing up you have that dream to play in one and I’ve only been 12th man so far.

It spurs you on in the competition.

Back to Lancashire and it was disappointing to miss out on selection for the game against Essex, especially with how well I’d done in pre-season.

They wanted a spinner in the side and we had seven out-and-out batsman in the first game so for the team balance I trusted their call.

You get told the team at 10.30 on the morning of the match and it’s a tough one – 
I initially thought I was 

But you take it on the chin, be as professional as possible and I trained with the first team and netted down at Chelmsford and was around to help them.

Especially at a county like Lancashire you’re going to get call-ups for England and the Lions side and with three different formats you’re 
going to need quite a big pool of players.

Although it was very disappointing hopefully I can get back in that side and there are other competitions to play in as well which I’ve been successful in, in the past so hopefully I can be a nailed on selection in those two.

If we’re honest we were probably outplayed by Essex, which was disappointing, we backed ourselves to give them a good game after doing that twice last year when they won the title.

It was a typical April wicket really. It was slow early on and then got better with the good weather we had, it was drying out each day.

It’s disappointing, it was a great fightback from the lads to get within 30 runs with a couple of unlucky decisions on the last day.

Now we’re back at Old Trafford against Surrey and they won last week so will be quite confident.

There’s not enough time to be dragging yourself around, you’ve got to just dust yourselves down and go again.

We’ve got a big squad and there’s always someone pushing for a place in the side, that’s professional sport and hopefully as a squad it will make us better. Rob Jones got a hundred for the seconds last week and there are people like Karl Brown in that side as well, who is very experienced, Stephen Parry as well.

It is a team game but we’ve got to look at ourselves individually to see where we can improve to hopefully get back on track.

Steven Croft is celebrating his testimonial year and was talking to Adam Lord