This time last year, Alex Davies was preparing to make his return to the Lancashire side after spending almost a year on the side-lines. Davies responded to the challenging task of opening the batting and keeping wicket by scoring his maiden century in only his second innings of the season.
The accolade of being the first Lancashire wicket-keeper to score 1,000 first-class runs in a season led to a Lions call-up for the 23-year-old, coupled with selection in the North vs South series.
“I’m delighted with how I came back from that injury,” he said.
“There was a lot of hard work and thought that went into getting myself fit again and getting myself on that Lions tour at the end of the 2017 season,” Davies said at the club’s annual media day.
Despite a stellar season, Davies will drop down to number three in red-ball cricket due to the signing of Keaton Jennings.
“We’ve had the chat and there are three of us that want to open the batting. They (Keaton Jennings and Haseeb Hameed) have opened the batting their whole careers and have not had the experience of waiting to bat whereas I’ve got the experience of batting down the order.
“Don’t get me wrong, I want to open the batting. But myself batting at three is going to be best for the team so I’m just going to attack that challenge head on.
‘’I’ve opened the batting in white-ball cricket for the Lions and the North vs South series this winter. I think I’ve got a really good method at the top now I’ve matured from previous years where perhaps I was a bit reckless.’’
Many have tipped Lancashire to go one better this season after finishing runners-up in 2017. Davies feels the increased depth of the squad can only better Lancashire’s chances.
“There’s a sense of excitement around the lads as there are a lot of people playing well. I say there’s excitement but I wouldn’t want to be Glen (Chapple) and Liam (Livingstone) on Friday morning trying to pick that team.
“There are a lot more than 11 players that deserve to get picked going off pre-season performances so I think that stands us in good stead if we don’t know what team we’re going to pick.”
One challenge that stands before Lancashire is winning away from Old Trafford. They haven’t managed to win away from home in Championship cricket since 2015, which came in Division Two, and Davies admits it is something that needs to improve if they are to seriously challenge for the title.
“Yes, it’s something we’ve spoken quite a lot about. We do pride ourselves by winning at Old Trafford, we know how the wicket plays and it’s not a nice place for teams to visit. If we did manage to win one or two away from home we would have really put Essex under the pump.
“It’s not like we didn’t put in good performances away from home, things just didn’t go our way and they certainly did for Essex.”