MM’s top five… Overseas Lancashire cricketers

By Ross McLean

Lancashire supporters have been spoiled over the years with the quality of overseas players the club has managed to attract.

Despite suffering relegation from English domestic cricket’s top flight last year, the Red Rose succeeded in recruiting former Australian Test batsman Simon Katich for the current season.

Last week Katich passed 20,000 first-class runs against Kent at Emirates Old Trafford to continue the conveyor belt of talent representing the famous old county.

Here MM takes a look at some other top class overseas players to have donned Lancashire colours.

5. Stuart Law

Australian batsman Law – holder of a British passport – arrived at Old Trafford from Essex in 2002 and was awarded his county cap during his first season at the club.

He continued to pile up the runs, scoring 1,820 in 2003 at an average of 91 – topping the first class batting averages.

Law was the Red Rose’s leading run-scorer in the Totesport League in 2005 and only missed one Frizzell County Championship as Lancashire won the Division Two title.

The former international batsman also topped the club’s run-scoring charts in the Twenty20 Cup with 387, including a century, as the club reached the final only to lose to Somerset.

Law surpassed 1,000 championship runs again in 2006 as well as 2007 – with 1,277 – averaging 63.85, including a double century against Roses rivals Yorkshire.

He signed a new one-year contract at Old Trafford for the 2008 season and was named captain but after a frustrating season was released in October.

4. Farokh Engineer

Born in Mumbai in 1938, Engineer was a flamboyant batsman and an agile wicketkeeper who played 46 Tests for India.

He was one of the best at his trade, confirmed by his selection as the first-choice keeper for the Rest of the World XI series in England and Australia in the early 1970s.

Engineer served Lancashire with distinction for eight years between 1968 and 1976.

His record of keeping to fast bowlers in the English domestic game supports his reputation as a complete keeper, not only to India’s spin masters but to all types of bowlers.

Given his aggressive batting style, it has often been suggested Engineer would have been a natural in the modern era, especially in limited overs and Twenty20 cricket.

3. Muttiah Muralitharan

The controversial world-class off-spinner first joined Lancashire for a stint in 1999 and was named the county’s Player of the Year.

He returned in 2001 and became the quickest bowler from any county to achieve 100 Championship wickets, after playing just 12 matches.

The Red Rose re-signed Murali for the 2005 summer despite him being sidelined at the time after undergoing an operation to cure a troublesome shoulder injury.

He played six first class games for the county that year and proved his worth by taking 36 wickets at an average of 15 as Lancashire won the Division Two title.

He was signed for a further spell in 2007 and joined his team-mates after Sri Lanka’s World Cup campaign.

Muralitharan retired from the Test arena in 2010, registering his 800th wicket with his final ball – he also took 534 One Day International wickets.

2. Clive Lloyd

Lloyd, dubbed Super Cat, captained the West Indies between 1974 and 1985, overseeing their rise to become the dominant Test-playing nation.

He is one of the most successful Test captains of all time – including a run of 27 matches undefeated – and was the first West Indian player to earn 100 international caps.

As well as scoring over 7,500 runs at Test level at an average of 46.67, the left-handed batsman lifted two World Cups, including the inaugural competition at Lord’s in 1975.

He was named Man of the Match in the final after scoring 102 against Australia.

Lloyd has become part of Lancashire folklore, representing the county for 18 years between 1968 and 1986.

He was named Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1971 after scoring 1,600 runs for Lancashire at an average of 47.

Lloyd also won four one-day trophies in five years at Old Trafford during Lancashire’s golden era of the 1970s.

1. Wasim Akram

Wasim signed for Lancashire in 1988 and arguably went on to become the club’s most successful overseas players.

The former Pakistan captain is regarded as one of the greatest fast bowlers in cricket history – holding a record 881 wickets in List A cricket.

He is second only to Muralitharan for One Day International wickets with 502 and is considered to be one of the finest exponents of reverse swing.

For a decade he opened the Red Rose bowling attack in the ECB Trophy, Benson and Hedges Cup and National League tournaments – taking 374 wickets for the county.

He was a firm favourite with cricket fans up and down the country with supporters regularly signing “Wasim for England” during Lancashire games.

Wasim took a record 81 wickets in 1995 as Lancashire ended the season as Benson and Hedges champions after defeating Kent in the final.

Under Wasim’s captaincy, Lancashire won the ECB Trophy and Axa League in 1998 while also finishing second in the county championship.

Image courtesy of BBC via Youtube, with thanks

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