Lofty tar­get within reach as Jarvis lifts Red Rose

Macclesfield Express - - JOBS - CHRIS OSTICK

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.”

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