At just 22, Alex Davies remains one of the younger members of the Lancashire side and one of the youngest wicketkeepers in county cricket.
But he’s not a new face to the Red Rose side. This is his sixth season with the first team, having made his debut two days before his 17th birthday. His talent has been there for all to see but, for one reason or another, it’s been a little stop-start for him in his career to date.
His blossoming career with the gloves stalled somewhat when Lancashire signed Jos Buttler from Somerset, but Davies has been given the responsibility with the gloves when Buttler is away on England duty.
Last year his progress was halted by a serious knee injury, which ruled him out for most of the second half of the season. Lancashire found themselves short of keepers, a problem they addressed in the winter by bringing in South African Test player Dane Vilas.
But Davies was backed by new Head Coach Glen Chapple, who said that the 22-year-old would be his first-choice keeper. It was a show of faith in his young charge, and it was enhanced even more when Davies was chosen to open the batting in the Championship.
“It’s brilliant to be backed by your coach and have that sort of security knowing that you’re going into the season as number one – that’s awesome,” Davies said before the season.
“But it doesn’t mean it’s my spot and nothing could happen to it. If I keep bad or bat bad, there’s a lot of competition so it’s nothing to rely on.”
Davies certainly hasn’t let Chapple down so far this season. At Chelmsford in the season opener, he struck his maiden first-class century. And he backed that up this week at Old Trafford by racking up 130 as his side roared back from a significant first innings deficit to secure a thumping 164-run win against Somerset.
During that knock he shared a mammoth 245-run partnership with fellow academy product Liam Livingstone.
“I really enjoyed our partnership,” Davies said after the third day.
“We bounce off each other and keep each other going. It was obviously nice to get in and bat for a while. Obviously it’s a really special moment to reach a century here, as it was at Essex.
“We’ve known each other since we were about 11. The more home-grown players we have playing well the better it is for the club.”
Davies has recovered well from his injury sustained last season, and put a significant amount of effort into his fitness and his game over the winter to hit the ground running this season.
In previous years Davies has been deployed in a variety of positions in the batting order, but has been trusted to open alongside Haseeb Hameed this season. He insists he’s happy to bat wherever the team need him to.
“I’ve always said that wherever it’s best for the team that I bat, I will bat.
“If it’s best that I open, I’ll open. If it’s best that I bat number ten, I’ll bat number ten. That’s just how I play and how I want to be for the team.
“The body is back to 100%. There were a lot of hard yards in the winter. It was one operation last year, saw the specialist and I was unlucky that the timescale meant I was back fit just as the season finished.
“It’s been a long winter but a very good one.”
Chapple is delighted with the way his young keeper has started the season and has praised the application he showed to come back from injury over the winter.
“He’s reaping the rewards for a lot of hard work,” Chapple said after the Somerset win.
“A lot of thought and determination has gone into his game and to turn what was a promising start as a young player into serious results.
“He’s showing that he’s a class player and for a keeper to be opening the batting and doing well at it is really promising for him.”