Moore applauds Prince capture
Losing the experience of Mark Chilton was a blow, but Lancashire’s Stephen Moore is adamant new signing Ashwell Prince will be the perfect replacement.
After the Red Rose dramatically claimed their first outright LV= County Championship crown in 77 years last season, 35-year-old Chilton, who made his first-class debut in 1997, hung up his boots on a high.
Head coach Peter Moores called on a familiar face to bolster his inexperienced middle-order as South African Prince arrived at Old Trafford for a third spell as the club’s overseas player.
And Moore believes Prince, who has played 66 Tests, 52 one-day internationals and one Twenty20 for his country, will be the final piece in the jigsaw as they attempt to defend their title this season.
“Mark Chilton was a great player for Lancashire over the years, with great experience and a cool head,” he told ecb.co.uk.
“We will miss him in the changing room but having Ashwell coming in, an international cricketer and a really good guy, will add to the changing room as well as on the field.
“Everybody in the side was extremely pleased when we learnt he was coming to join us.”
Former England Lions opening batsman Moore retained his place in the Lancashire top order during the title-winning campaign after a nasty shoulder injury saw him miss two months of the 2010 season.
Now the 31-year-old is eyeing more success in 2012 after hitting top form towards the latter stage of last term.
“I want to carry on where I finished off, I think I started to find a bit of rhythm and form again towards the end of last season and I was back to where I was before my shoulder injury when I was in the England Lions squad,” Moore said.
“For me it is to kick on from there and keep improving my game, up the ante in one-day cricket as well. I want to try and contribute as much as I can to the team and hopefully will win more trophies. We started out as a side planning for the future, trying to build a legacy and we don’t want last season to be a flash in the pan.
“We want to keep putting pressure on other really good sides and we want to one of the squads at the top that are competing every week.”
With the championship top flight getting stronger due to the promotion of Middlesex and Surrey, Moore admits it will be harder than ever to retain the title they clinched with an eight-wicket triumph over Somerset on the final day of the 2011 campaign.
“It’s going to be a really good season like the last couple of seasons have,” he said.
“Both sides that have come up, Surrey and Middlesex, if you look through their squads they are very strong. We are not going to take anything for granted.
“We have the confidence from last year but that confidence won’t bring us anything extra this year, we are going to have to go out there and earn every point like last year.
“Hopefully it will be a little easier this season, we had some really tight games but that stands all of us in good stead.”
With Lancashire in the hands of former England and Sussex coach Moores, their preparations will be as immaculate as ever.
“Anyone who knows Peter Moores now will know he’s meticulous when it comes to his preparation,” Moore added.
“We have tried to leave no stone unturned this season, we have prepared for everything, but we also know there will be some surprises along the way and things we didn't expect this year.
“From pitches to weather and playing new teams, we are going to have to be flexible. But in Peter and Chap (skipper Glen Chapple), we have two guys that have a good working relationship and lead the team really well, we are all really confident.”