Test Match Sofa
Lancashire return for Katich
By Graham Hardcastle
Lancashire have re-signed Australian batsman Simon Katich as their overseas player as they bid to bounce back to the top tier of the LV= County Championship at the first attempt in 2013. Although the club hope the 37-year-old’s biggest influence will occur in four-day cricket, he has been signed to play in all competitions.
Having left Hampshire, he returns to Old Trafford for a full season after playing one Championship match and nine Twenty20s for the Red Rose in 2010, scoring a total of 225 runs including a top-score of 41 not out in the shortest format.
The former Derbyshire, Durham and Yorkshire player - he will now lose his tag as the only player to play one Championship match for both Roses counties - posted 5,581 runs in 104 appearances for Australia, with 56 of those matches coming in the Test match arena.
Katich, who replaces Ashwell Prince as the club’s overseas player, said: “I’m delighted to be returning to Lancashire after a short stint there in 2010. Lancashire are a proud club who I’m sure will be looking to head straight back up to Division One, and I’m determined to play a big part in this happening.
“I enjoyed working with Peter Moores and Glen Chapple in 2010. Their professionalism and attention to detail was particularly impressive. I’m hopeful that with my experience I can be a senior member of the squad and help a relatively young group in having a successful season.
“Next year is a huge year at Old Trafford in that they’re hosting another Ashes Test. Having played in an Ashes Test there before in 2005, I know it’s going to be a really special time for everyone involved.”
Despite recently being linked with the captaincy job at his home state of Western Australia, Katich has retired from first-class cricket Down Under - although he will play Twenty20 cricket for Perth Scorchers in the Big Bash League either side of Christmas. He is also pursuing a career in player welfare with the Australian Football League.
Lancashire’s cricket director Mike Watkinson said: “Simon is a quality performer and a top character. He knows our club and county cricket very well, and has enjoyed an outstanding career, averaging over 50 in first-class cricket. Naturally, we are delighted to welcome him back to Old Trafford.”
Coach Peter Moores added: “It is great news to have secured a player of Simon's quality, and his influence will be felt both on and off the field. We have an emerging group of Lancashire players who will benefit greatly from his experience and knowledge, and his ability as a player is beyond question.”
Katich is the second player to join Lancashire from Hampshire this winter after fast bowler Kabir Ali’s arrival. Kabir, whose career has been dogged by injury problems, linked up with his new team-mates when they returned to pre-season training at Old Trafford on Monday.
He said: “My contract was coming to an end at Hampshire. They offered me a new deal, but I felt like I needed a change. I got in contact with some of the guys at Lancashire, and was quite keen to move here. It all happened pretty quickly.
“All my injury problems are behind me, I hope. I was fully fit last season. It is hard when you have a long injury. The most frustrating part is when you see the lads on the pitch and you are sat at home watching them on the TV.
“In my family everybody plays, so when we get together cricket is the only thing we talk about, which makes it even harder when you are injured. But that is all behind me now, and I am pretty excited by the future. Lancashire is a big club. If I can bring a little bit of my skill level and experience to this side, hopefully it will help.”
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