There was a flurry of activity at Emirates Old Trafford during the second day of their County Championship clash with Surrey last week. Two new signings, one departure and a shake-up to the structure of the club were all announced within minutes of each other.
Those two new signings are both arrivals from Durham, with England opener Keaton Jennings and former England seamer Graham Onions both putting pen to paper on deals to play for Lancashire next season.
But in amongst that good news, as well as the announcement that Andrew Flintoff was returning to the club to take up a position on the board, was the expected confirmation that seamer Kyle Jarvis would be leaving to return to play international cricket for Zimbabwe.
After the match, head coach Glen Chapple reflected on the new additions and the composition of his squad for next season.
“Keaton and Graham are competitive and ambitious, and they want to do as well as they can,” Chapple said.
“Keaton is obviously a young player but very highly rated with good character and leadership experience already. He’s going to help the team in many aspects. A lot of teams were after him and he chose Lancashire over those teams which is brilliant.
“I’ve liked Graham for a long time. A very high quality bowler and when it came to light that Kyle Jarvis was going to have to leave, I felt that we needed to bolster our attack with some proven quality.”
Onions has signed a two-year deal but at 35 and with a career blighted by injury, restricting him to just nine Test appearances, there are inevitable question marks about his ability to lead the line for Lancashire over the course of a season.
Chapple isn’t concerned about that, saying: “Graham has not been signed to definitely last the full season.
“I’m comfortable if he doesn’t. I’m very comfortable that the younger bowlers coming through will take the opportunity when it comes.
“I don’t see his signing affecting the development of our youngsters at all. Having a senior bowler to help is important at all times. He’s a senior bowler who’s a qualified coach, so that’s a huge positive.”
Jarvis retired from international cricket with Zimbabwe against the backdrop of pay disputes and joined Lancashire in 2013. A year later he was the club’s leading wicket-taker in securing promotion from Division Two, and followed that up by taking the most wickets again as they preserved top-flight status last season.
His departure is a blow for Lancashire, but Chapple says he leaves with their best wishes and the door is open for a return.
“Kyle goes with our blessing, we are very grateful for all he’s done for us over the last three years,” Chapple said.
“Why not have him as an overseas? That would be up to him and his performance levels.
“Jarv at his best would be an option. If he wants to come back he needs to keep doing the business.”
Lancashire had a great deal of success with their signings last season, especially the arrivals of experienced players in Shivnarine Chanderpaul on a Kolpak and Ryan McLaren as an overseas.
Chanderpaul hit 831 runs at a mighty average of 51.93, while McLaren was an outstanding performer with the ball, finishing as Lancashire’s leading wicket-taker with 45 scalps to his name in Division One.
Even though West Indian Chanderpaul is now 43, Chapple is hopeful he will return to the club next season but admits it’s unlikely McLaren will be able to stay.
“I’d love Shiv to come back. He’s been fantastic for us and shown how he can still play and how he still wants to play. He’s been great so hopefully yes, he’ll come back.
“Our top six looks impressive. There will be competition for places of course but we want to be as good as we can possibly be. It makes it competitive and a tough team to get into.
“Ryan has been fantastic for us. With both bat and ball and his attitude is unparalleled really. He’s 34 and looks like he could play for 10 more years.
“But Ryan has a young family and he’s got them to consider. I think his future is uncertain at the moment.”
Chapple says they will need to make their decisions on which positions they need to fill quickly, and whether they need to look at overseas signings in order to do so.
But he insists getting the right targets is more important than making quick signings.
“I’m keen to get the right people in. If that person comes along early then brilliant but I won’t make a signing I’m not happy with.
“Graham has come in for Kyle Jarvis and, if we do lose Ryan, then either we need another bowler who bats or an out-and-out bowler.
“Also, Saqib Mahmood’s stats in the games he’s played this year have been good. He’s a developing bowler. Hopefully as he gets older those injuries he’s had will be less and less regular.”