Steven Croft column: Lancashire’s time to shine in T20 Blast

In action with the bat during my testimonial game at Lytham Cricket Club on Tuesday evening
In action with the bat during my testimonial game at Lytham Cricket Club on Tuesday evening

It was a great night at Lytham for my testimonial earlier this week. My Lancashire XI came together to face a Lytham XI in what was a really good evening of Twenty20 cricket.

We had a tight game that went down to the last over, which is always good for the people who come out.

Lancashire and England's Keaton Jennings in action during the testimonial game at Lytham.

Lancashire and England's Keaton Jennings in action during the testimonial game at Lytham.

Leading up to it, the closer it got the more nervous I got because some of the players we had pencilled in were involved in the second team for Lancs against Yorkshire on the same day.

We had to ring around a bit and try and get an XI and we got there in the end.

I had massive help from some of the Lancs lads who had an afternoon off but came and supported me by coming down and playing.

The other side of it, done by Lytham really, was selling all the hospitality and making sure everything was in place.

Thankfully a lot of hard work paid off.

It was a great effort from Keaton Jennings to get involved. He’s a lovely guy and said yes straight away when asked.

It shows the sort of guy he is really and it’s the same with Graham Onions who was also in my team.

They are new Lancastrians for this year but they have fitted in to the side really well.

Graham’s had a testimonial before and knows what comes with it. It can be hard work at times, especially when you are still playing.

The lads have been great when I have had events though. They supported me at the dinner with David Lloyd and other stuff.

It’s a big relief when your team-mates help you out.

It was good seeing some of the older faces that I used to play with. It brought some memories back and we had a few laughs on and off the field.

It was really good fun.

I also caught up with John Gwynne this week about the darts event we’ve got coming up next at Old Trafford on July 14.

He’s as excited as ever to be involved and has set it all up really well.

It should be fun and is something a little bit different for us. We all think we can throw some arrows!

Before that we get our Twenty20 Blast campaign under way.

I think with the way the County Championship has gone and with us being out of the One-Day Cup, this is one we can win and if we play good cricket we should be there or thereabouts.

We’ve got a great side on paper, especially with James Faulkner coming back.

We’re going into tournament confident and with three games in the first four days we’ll be looking to get off to a great start because we can put ourselves in a strong position.

The first step is getting out of the group which we haven’t done the last two years because we’ve taken time to get going.

I’m writing this ahead of our first game last night, but you don’t want to be scratching around for a result. A couple of early wins would settle the nerves and allow us to play some good cricket.

If you get out of the group then anything can happen from there.

It should be a great competition this year. There are some really good overseas professionals and seeing lots of big names coming over is brilliant. It should be a great summer of T20 and if the weather continues as it has been it should give it
a real boost with bigger crowds and even more 
entertainment.

We’ve always been well supported in the T20s and hopefully that continues.

The Roses game with Yorkshire is something else and very special but the others have healthy crowds too – every cricketer wants to be playing in front of lots of fans. Hopefully we can get on a roll which would help the crowds as well.

The main thing for us if someone does get an opportunity to win a game, maybe we’ve got to be a bit more selfish.

We’ve got a great squad and as the one-day stuff has proved, we’ve just relied on each other a bit too much at times.

We know we’ve got a good batting line-up and plenty of bowlers. But players can do it themselves rather than look down the order. When it’s your time to shine you’ve got to do it.

That’s what happened when we won the County Championship and T20 
titles.

We had 10 different matchwinners throughout the season. No one had a stunning season but everyone had good years and all had a solid campaign.

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