Steven Croft column: Back-to-back County Championship games crucial

Jonny Bairstow smashed 139 for England as they posted a world record 481 in their 50-over win over Australia at Trent Bridge
Jonny Bairstow smashed 139 for England as they posted a world record 481 in their 50-over win over Australia at Trent Bridge

It’s been frustrating to sit out the game with Worcestershire.

I thought with Liam Livingstone being called up to the England Lions that I would have been next in line to return to the side.

I was in the last squad and I’d hoped there would be a straight swap; we can play similar roles and I can fill in with off-spin if needed.

It wasn’t meant to be, Rob Jones got the nod, and I’ll just have to get my head down and score some more runs and hopefully get in on Monday when we play Hampshire at Old Trafford.

I’ll be back with Lytham on Saturday at Rainford and getting some runs will hopefully put me in contention.

It’s two in two for Lytham after beating Northern and picking up maximum points last time out.

I got some runs and it’s always nice to contribute to a win. Things are looking good on that front.

As for Lancashire it’s back-to-back games in the County Championship.

They are big matches against sides we should be doing quite well against.

Worcester have got some good players but, going into the game, we were thinking it was one we could win.

Statistically there’s usually a result at Worcester so there’s points up for grabs.

Hampshire follow and they’ve got Dale Steyn in the side and it would be nice to play against him.

They are one of those teams that we’ve done well against in the past.

One or two wins can see you right up there but then a couple of games without a win can see you looking at the other end.

Once you do get on a roll in county cricket and win one or two of them it can be your year.

It’s a very tight division though and you can’t take anything for granted.

You really can’t tell who might win it or who might go down at the moment.

It gives you opportunities but any team can beat any other in the division so you’ve got to be on the ball in every game.

There are no pushovers in the league and you have to start again in every match because it’s not an easy task winning a game in the County Championship.

There are a lot of good players around and everyone is getting better.

Four-day wins don’t come easily and you need to get a few wins ticked off.

We’ve seen at Worcester how things can turn. 
The first day was really frustrating for all involved with Lancashire.

We had a really good start and maybe could have bowled better after lunch. We wanted to bowl them out for under 200 as there was a bit in the pitch.

And then at the end of the day the game turned on its head.

It wasn’t an easy environment to go in for a batsman thought, late in the day with the ball nipping around.

On the international front, England’s batsmen made it look easy in their world record win over Australia.

The clean hitting was phenomenal; you might get one or two of those in an innings but to keep going at that rate for the whole 50 overs was an amazing achievement.

At one point it looked like England were going to reach 500.

It’s fantastic to see what the England one-day side has become; hopefully they can keep going, there are some great players waiting in the wings too so the future looks really bright.

Trent Bridge has always been a high-scoring ground.

They are really good wickets and you’ve usually got one small boundary with the new side they’ve built.

I think you need that mix between bat and ball though.

When you play games at Old Trafford it’s generally a bigger playing surface and it is a little bit more even.

Quite a few of the northern grounds are big playing fields whereas some down south some aren’t that big.

It’s entertaining and leans more towards the bat but the better bowlers will still rise to the top.

There’s no shying away from how the Australia side was with a few injuries and suspensions but it’s great to see England winning and dominating. Long may that continue with the World Cup coming to England.