Wisden Cricket Monthly / Features

County set - Lancashire

Basic setbacks

If the wheels have not entirely fallen off the Lancashire wagon, then there have certainly been a couple of punctures, the worse of them to their confidence

Martin Searby

July 15, 2004

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If the wheels have not entirely fallen off the Lancashire wagon, then there have certainly been a couple of punctures, the worse of them to their confidence. The bookies' favourites for the title slumped to fifth, 43 points behind the leaders with seven games left and the reason was not completely down to the debilitating injury list.

"Quite simply the opposition have done the basics better than us," Mike Watkinson, the director of cricket, says. "In addition we've one or two who are out of form on top of the injury list which ripped us to pieces."

At one time eight bowlers were out of action with Jimmy Anderson, Andrew Flintoff and Sajid Mahmood required by England, Dominic Cork nursing a wrist injury, Kyle Hogg suffering a hamstring strain, Peter Martin troubled by reaction to the knee on which he had surgery last winter and the off-spinning allrounder Carl Hooper out with a broken thumb. But quite the worst was the damage inflicted on Glen Chapple when he was hit on the head against Sussex. Chapple said he was all right at the time but then underwent a scan which showed he had severe bruising to the brain.

"He was getting headaches for a long time afterwards," Watkinson says. "He just feels so unwell every time he tries to do anything and rest is the only cure. We miss him but we need to get in and scrap. There's a long way to go and after the Twenty20 Cup we should be settled again."

Moment of the month Mal Loye's form the only plus

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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