Kyle Jarvis: The embodiment of Lancashire’s rise to Division One challenge

Kyle Jarvis: The embodiment of Lancashire’s rise to Division One challenge

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Pic: Luke Adams

At the start of the season there were numerous question marks about Lancashire’s ability to make the step up to Division One.

They had been relegated in their last two top flight seasons, and head coach Ashley Giles was happy to admit that he didn’t know whether his side were good enough to compete against the best that the County Championship had to offer.

If one player embodied that need to make the step up, it was surely Zimbabwean seamer Kyle Jarvis.

His breakthrough season for Lancashire came last year in Division Two, when he picked up 62 wickets and acted as the leader of the Red Rose attack as they clinched promotion.

The question marks were there at the start of the season over whether Jarvis would be able to replicate that form in Division One.

Much is made of the gap in standard between the two divisions of the Specsavers County Championship, often too much, but on the whole the challenge is greater in the top flight.

But Jarvis has answered those questions, as has the whole Lancashire team, in a resounding manner.

With James Anderson in the team for the first three matches, it would have been easy for him to coast and allow the England legend to lead the attack.

But Jarvis supported Anderson superbly as his new ball partner. He took nine wickets in the three games they played together, and since Anderson has left to join England, Jarvis has stepped up to become the leader of the Lancashire attack.

Figures of 3-86 in the first innings against Durham last week was an impressive display, but on the first day against Surrey at Old Trafford, Jarvis was simply magnificent.

He bowled with an unerring accuracy and quickly found the right length to bowl on a pitch that offers a little assistance for those who bowl in the right areas.

Generating early swing and then significant seam movement, Jarvis had Surrey batsmen bamboozled and racked up mighty figures of 6-70.

It was only the third time in his career that Jarvis has picked up six wickets in an innings and goes to prove just how much he has lifted his game to cope with the demands of Division One cricket.

It will have been a feather in his cap to remove one of the greatest batsmen ever to grace the game. Kumar Sangakkara has shown his enduring class already this season and Surrey were looking to him again having lost an early wicket.

But Jarvis ensured there would be no bat-raising heroics from the Sri Lankan legend – who was just 74 runs short of reaching 19,000 first-class runs.

Thanks to Jarvis he is still 74 runs short, after a superb in-swinger saw the left-hander depart for a duck and set Jarvis on the way to one of the best performances of his career.

If there were doubts about whether he could cut it in Division One, there aren’t any more. His six-wicket haul lifted him to become third-highest wicket-taker in the top flight this season, just one behind the much-lauded Jake Ball.

Jarvis belongs at this level and shows every sign of being a threat to Division One batsmen all season long.

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