MEN’s Chris Ostick on Lancashire 2020 fixtures and overseas signings

Emirates Old Trafford will host all of Lancashire's County Championship home games next season, the club have announced (Credit: Richard Hoare, Geograph)

Lancashire’s decision to play all seven of their home County Championship fixtures at Old Trafford next season will suit the side, according to MEN lead cricket writer Chris Ostick.

The Red Rose have announced that their home calendar will not feature an out ground for the first time since 2002, as they return to Division One.

Blackpool and Sedburgh, however, will host one 50 over game each, whilst the opening game of Lancashire’s Vitality Blast campaign will take place at Liverpool’s Aigburth ground.

On Lancashire’s reasons behind the decision, Ostick said: “Speaking to (Lancashire director of cricket) Paul Allott, it’s been done for crickteting reasons really.

“They’re comfortable playing at Old Trafford, the ground and pitch here suits them and if you think of the spin options they’ve got (Matt Parkinson, Liam Livingstone), that’s probably the case.

“You do get bigger crowds at outgrounds – in the past they’ve had full houses at Southport – but at the moment Southport have got problems with the wicket and there’s been issues with drainage at Blackpool over the years, but they’re working on that.

“Out grounds tend to be more result based as opposed to Old Trafford which is often difficult to get a result out of, but they’re comfortable they can getting a winning formula with the side that they’ve got.”

In other news, Allott this week confirmed that Australia’s James Faulkner will return to the club next season as their T20 overseaas player, whilst fellow countryman Glenn Maxwell – who featured in all three formats for the club last season – is also in talks to return.

James Faulkner (right) will return to the club as an overseas player in 2020 (Credit: NAPARAZZI, Wikimedia Commons)

And Ostick praised the decision: “Lancashire have been keen to keep hold of overseas players that they’ve had before and had success with, to keep that continuity.

“Someone like Faulkner has been there for several years now, he’s a member of the squad and there’s a comfortable relationship between him and the club.

“They know they are getting a top class performer in T20 cricket – we saw what he did last year and in 2015 (302 runs at 37.75 and 25 wickets at 12.64) when they won it.

“As long as Maxwell is fit and ready to play cricket, he’d be a perfrect signing for them because he settled in so well last season.”

The club have also announced the first ever Lancashire Cricket expo, which will take place next February.

It is aimed at “providing for and improving the recreational game, using a range of high-quality exhibitors, guest speakers and coaching masterclasses”, and will be hosted at Old Trafford.

The club have already confirmed Michael Vaughan and David Lloyd as keynote speakers at the event.

And Ostick also praised the initiative: “It’s a good idea and another way of reaching towards the grassroots game in Lancashire.

“They want to see Lancashire Cricket the hub of the game in the county, and even really in the whole of the North West.

“To put something like that on to attract people who are interested in cricket or are members of clubs or are ground staff, to get them coming into the club and have them be accessible to cricket people, I think it’s a great idea.”