Arron Lilley first interview

All-rounder Arron Lilley initially joined Leicestershire CCC at the end of the 2018 season following his release from his native Lancashire CCC.

The all-rounder was one of the first players in the door at the Fischer County Ground following Head Coach Paul Nixon’s winter overhaul.

The Foxes lost a number of players following the conclusion of the 2018 season, and acquiring Lilley was a big step forward in what the coaching staff are trying to achieve in the near future.

Lilley said: “It’s been really good. Obviously, I knew quite a few of the coaches; Sads [John Sadler] and Nico [Paul Nixon] before, and there are a few former Lancashire lads here so it has been really good.

“They have made me really welcome and it has been nice and easy to settle in. It has been good. Obviously I have played against Leicestershire a couple of times in the one-day stuff, and it seems like it is a club on the up.

“Getting the chance to join the coaching staff with Sads, Nico and Mase [Matt Mason] was definitely one of the key factors.”

Upon signing the all-rounder, Nixon came out and lauded the new signing labelling the off-spinner as a valuable player in all three formats of the game.

With that in mind, the 27-year-old said: “It is nice to have that feeling to know that you are around the plans, but obviously that does not mean that you are dead-set to play, and you still have to work hard which all the lads have been doing.”

However, the Greater Manchester-born man is aware of his game and is focussed on where he feels he needs to, and wants to improve in 2019: “I have only played 14 first-class games, so that is one thing that I do want to play more of – the red ball stuff.

“I think coming to Leicestershire gives me a bit more of an opportunity to do that. I have still got to be at my best to play and to get into the side. I just need to have a good winter and hopefully a good pre-season to get my name on that teamsheet.”

Lilley comes from Lancashire CCC with a great deal of experience behind him with a victorious T20 campaign in 2015 as well as the experience of playing alongside internationals, which has helped him along the way.

He said: “The aura about when Fred [Andrew Flintoff] did play, and other players like Jos [Buttler] – when they come back from England duties they make you feel welcome, as the lads do here.

“When they are with the county you feel like you have got to step up to their level. So I think that when you are playing and you’re playing with the likes of Jos Buttler and players like that, your game kind of improves and you play to their standards.”

After being at Leicestershire since October 2018, Lilley has noticed the impact that Nixon has already had on himself. Lilley is also aware of the effect that Nixon’s experience and coaching ability can have on some of the younger members of the squad.

He said: “From the start in October when me and Nico spoke at first we had a really good connection. He has been a very good coach and has got great connections through the T20 stuff he has done with the Tallawahs.

“It can be great for a few of these young lads that are coming through to get that experience that he has had of international cricket.”

With the Foxes season opener away at Sussex fastly approaching, Lilley looks forward to beginning his stint in the Midlands on the field: “It has been a bit different for me, but it is all for the good.

“We have got quite a young squad with a bit of experience mixed in there as well, which will stand us in good stead. I think that we have got a massive push for promotion.”

*To sponsor Arron for the 2019 season, please contact hospitality@leicestershireccc.co.uk or call 0116 2452440 for more information.

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