Nottinghamshire will be looking to start 2014 with a victory as LV= County Championship cricket returns to Trent Bridge with the arrival of newly-promoted Lancashire.
Michael Lumb impressed for England through the winter, scoring a century on his One Day International debut against the West Indies. Now back in Nottingham ahead of his county’s first fixture against Lancashire, he expressed his desire to return to the crease in familiar conditions.
“Its good to be back and I’m raring to go,” he said.
“I’ve been away for a while and now I’m home it’s just a case of getting ready to play in that first game.
“I’m ready for something different. It’s been a winter of white ball cricket. Now it’s time to get back with the red ball and the County Championship.”
Lumb’s busy winter involved a stint in the Australian KFC Big Bash League, before three months of Twenty20 cricket with England ending in Bangladesh. With such a long time dealing in twenty over stints, he was quick to reassure that the switch to red ball wouldn’t be an issue.
I’ve been doing winters of white ball cricket for a few years now,” he said.
“The routine of changing my mindset is becoming easier and it’s not a new experience.
“I’m feeling sharp, playing cricket through the winter has kept me in good shape and I’m looking forward to the new approach this weekend.”
Nottinghamshire will be boosted by Lumb’s return to the starting XI, alongside new signing Phil Jaques at the top of the order. They will, however, be unable to select batsman James Taylor, who is still in recovery following the side strain he picked up in Barbados, and Peter Siddle, who is yet to arrive following visa issues.
“I’ve played with Phil before, when I was at Yorkshire,” said Lumb.
“He’s an excellent player with a great record, the perfect man to have on board.
“He’s fitting in well and will be solid at the top of the order, and will be an excellent asset to us.”
Taylor and Siddle’s absences may open the door for one of Nottinghamshire’s younger professionals to make an impression early in the season, with the likes of Jake Ball, Sam Kelsall and Sam Wood all featuring heavily in the county’s pre-season friendlies.
Also in contention will be the returning Andy Carter, who finished with a second innings 4-7 against Oxford MCCU in midweek. The selection process might cause Director of Cricket Mick Newell a headache, but Lumb praised the squad’s strength in depth and youth.
“Some of these young players have really come on,” he said.
“Jake Ball is bowling well, even some of the younger lads like Hassan Azad are in and around the professional squad.
“There are a lot of fresh faces and its good for the club to see talented young players coming through, and it’s a great mix of old and young.”
Lancashire arrive at Trent Bridge boasting two names familiar to Lumb from his time with England. Jos Buttler is expected to start behind the stumps after completing a summer switch from Somerset, while the county have also confirmed that James Anderson will feature through the season’s early weeks.
“Lancashire are a strong side, they’ll be boosted by their big names but it’s up to us to go out there and impress in front of our fans,” said Lumb.
“We have talent throughout the order, and will be looking to go out there and win, as we do with every match.
“I’m trying not to set any specific targets beyond victory against Lancashire.”
Nottinghamshire squad to face Lancashire (from): Steven Mullaney, Alex Hales, Michael Lumb, Phil Jaques, Sam Kelsall, Samit Patel, Riki Wessels, Chris Read (c), Sam Wood, Andre Adams, Luke Fletcher, Brett Hutton, Andy Carter, Jake Ball and Harry Gurney
BBC Radio Nottingham will be providing ball-by-ball online commentary via the BBC Sport website, with play beginning at 11am.