Prince set to play on for Lancashire
Ashwell Prince, the former South Africa batsman, is set to reverse his decision to retire and instead play on with Lancashire in 2015. Prince, who was Lancashire's leading run-scorer this season despite their relegation, had previously announced that this would be his final campaign.
"As a player, you feel partly responsible for going down," he told the Manchester Evening News. "There's still a bit of fight left in the old boy so I'd like to help the club get back to where they belong."
Prince's Lancashire team-mates had been attempting to get him to change his mind after another season topping the county's Championship run-scoring list. He has scored more than 4000 runs for Lancashire since first representing them in 2009 and made his highest first-class score of 257 not out against Northamptonshire at Old Trafford in June.
Having not played a Test for South Africa since 2011, Prince was able to return to Lancashire as a Kolpak player in 2013 on a two-year deal. His status was at the bottom of an ongoing disciplinary case involving the Yorkshire captain Andrew Gale, who is accused of racially abusing Prince.
The controversy surrounding the ECB's pursuit of Gale has not deterred Prince, who had announced his planned retirement in March, from changing his mind.
"When you arrive in April, having had five back-to-back seasons home and away, it's quite taxing on the body," Prince said. "At the start of the summer, I was quite tired. I thought, at the end of the season, that's definitely going to be it. But I'd like to think there's a bit of life left. There's definitely some fight left."
Lancashire, champions in 2011, were relegated the following season and went straight back down this year after winning Division Two. The club have yet to appoint a successor as coach to Peter Moores and may also have to replace Glen Chapple as captain, if the 40-year-old decides to retire. They will, however, be able to build their batting around the ever-reliable Prince for another season.
"It's not going to be easy," Prince said. "There's been some big clubs trying to get back up into the first division. Fortunately, the last time we went down, we came straight back up."