By ECB Reporters Network
Steven Croft has more reason than most in the Lancashire dressing room to see the Lightning reach this summer’s Vitality Blast final – it could potentially make the former captain a world record holder.
Croft currently holds the English domestic record for most consecutive Twenty20 appearances, and he is closing in on the all-time top spot.
The 33-year-old all-rounder has made 146 consecutive appearances for the county, the latest being Sunday’s win over Northamptonshire at Emirates Old Trafford, which saw Lancashire win their second of three North Group matches so far.
Incredibly, he has not missed a Blast game since making his debut in June 2006.
Croft currently sits second on the all-time list behind India’s Suresh Raina, who made 158 consecutive appearances for Chennai Super Kings up until earlier this year. Third is Virat Kohli (144 for Bangalore) and fourth MS Dhoni (137 and counting for Chennai).
For Croft to break the record this summer, Lancashire would have to make September’s final at Edgbaston, and he would, obviously, have to play in every match.
“I’ll tell the team ‘If we get to Finals Day, I’ll be a world record holder and will buy them a drink’,” he said.
“It’s a nice little milestone, and there’s some good players up there. But I’m not sure many Indians will know my name!
“It’s 140 odd at the minute, and I can’t really believe it. It would be nice to get to the top of the pile.
“You don’t look to gain personal records, you want to win things for the team. But it’s a nice little record.
“The Blast was a relatively new tournament when I first played, and I don’t think anyone knew it would develop like it has done.
“In the meantime, they’ve set up all the leagues around the world, the IPL, the Big Bash. International cricket had only just come in when I started.
“We see each year the shots and fielding, they keep getting better. With the new tournament coming as well, it’s a developing game, and we have to move with it.”
Lancashire have made an encouraging start to this summer’s North Group campaign. They are aiming for a second T20 title having first won it under Croft’s captaincy in 2015, something he describes as a “special year”.
Croft, celebrating his testimonial year at Emirates Old Trafford, has always been a livewire in Lancashire’s T20 teams, with bat, ball and in the field – he remains one of the best fielders in county cricket.
But, with a crop of young exciting players coming through, he has to work harder than ever to retain his place.
“It’s a tough side to get into and a very competitive squad,” he said, before comparing this year’s squad to 2015. “We’ve seen there’s been a lot of players used and a lot gaining experience. We have a good blend of youth and experience.
“It’s probably as strong if not stronger.
“Those lads now have got more experience under their belt, the likes of Liam Livingstone and Al Davies. They have got another two or three years behind them and some international games as well.
“It’s a very good squad, and we just have to turn that talent and potential into results.
“The T20 is something we’ve always had a good record at, and hopefully we can emulate 2015.”
Lancashire’s next Blast clash is against Derbyshire at Emirates Old Trafford on Saturday (2.30pm).