Lofty target within reach as Jarvis lifts Red Rose
BEFORE the season started, head coach Ashley Giles set his Lancashire a bowlers a challenge.
If three of them could take around 50 wickets in the LV= County Championships, he knew they wouldn’t be too far away from winning Division Two and returning to the top flight of English cricket at the first time of asking.
One player asked why not aim for 75 wickets? Some in the meeting said it was impossible, especially playing on an Emirates Old Trafford pitch that has a reputation for breaking seam bowlers.
But not Kyle Jarvis. And just over halfway into the campaign, the former Zimbabwe Test bowler has 55 wickets. The way he is bowling, 75 will be a formality.
The question now is, can he become the first Lancashire player in 40 years to top 100 in the County Championship?
Not since left-arm spinner Gary Keedy took 72 wickets in 2004 has anyone come even close to 75 wickets. And the last seamer to get near three figures was Wasim Akram, who skittled 81 in 1995.
But even that is a long way off Peter Lee’s amazing feat of 107 in 1975.
That tally seems to be beyond Jarvis, who is the leading wicket-taker in the country this season. But three figures could still be in reach.
“I’m not going to make any big statements and say Jarvis can get 100 wickets, but the rate he’s going at, he’s almost on target,” said Giles.
“We talked at the start of the season about three guys getting around 50 wickets and that would help us win the title. Then someone mentioned why can’t one get 75, and it was scoffed at – especially playing at Old Trafford.
“At the moment he is storming that. He has been magnificent.
“Historically, we play on some of the best wickets in the country. It can be very hard to bowl sides out twice, but we’ve done that well so far. He’s been brilliant.”
Jarvis’ achievements this season are even more remarkable considering his woeful 2014.
Having given up Test cricket to join Lancashire as a Kolpak player, he found his first full season in England tough, taking just two wickets in two Championship matches.
“It is astonishing, from where he was and what he would have felt last season. I am delighted for him,” added Giles.
“He has worked extremely hard. I know he would have had tough times in the past and he has stuck to his guns and is now reaping the rewards. It is good for all of us, especially me as head coach.”