Lancashire are 11/4 with Ladbrokes to make swift a return to the County Championship top flight by winning the second division after the appointment of ex-England coach Ashley Giles as director of cricket.
The former England spinner, who replaces Mike Watkinson, is joined at the Red Rose county by Lancs legend Glenn Chapple, who will give up the captaincy at Old Trafford to focus on coaching.
After a spell as England’s limited-overs coach, Giles was over-looked by the ECB as the head coach of the national team in favour of Peter Moores.
But the 41-year-old is thrilled to be back in the county game and is hopeful his experience, alongside Chapple, can help take Lancashire back to the top flight.
“It’s not great for a club of this size to be in Division 2 but we need to look again at all that happened last summer – what worked, what didn’t work so well – and try and improve that.
“We both have templates, we’ve both been in championship-winning teams in the past four years, so we’ll both have ideas on how we win championships and with all that experience we need to collate that and put together, hopefully, a winning formula.”
Despite relegation it was not all doom and gloom at Old Trafford as Lancashire finished runners-up in the T20 Blast competition.
They lost to Warwickshire in the final at Edgbaston and are 12/1 to go one step further under Giles’ leadership.
The former Warwickshire coach led the Bears to CB40 glory in 2012 and his tactical nous in the one-day game could prove crucial if Lancashire are to win the Royal London 50-over competition, something also available at 12/1.
And with Giles looking to build a side capable of challenging across all three formats of the game a win in either limited-overs competition should not be overlooked at 12/1 with Ladbrokes.
“I’m sure you all want me to say we’ll be straight back in the First Division which, absolutely, I hope we are. But most importantly it is about building something that is sustainable and successful over a long period and that does take time,” he added.
“We’re going to have to manage expectations to a degree but a club of this pedigree, history and reputation deserves us building a squad that can compete across all formats.”
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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