Lancashire captain Dane Vilas has spoken of his remarkable record of turning first-class centuries into huge contributions, and admitted: “It’s a wasted opportunity if you don’t.”
Vilas hit a career-best 266 in this week’s County Championship victory over Glamorgan at Colwyn Bay to put the Red Rose within touching distance of promotion having won six of 11 matches.
The 34-year-old went beyond 100 for the 21st time in his first-class career, both in England and at home in South Africa.
He has turned five of those into double centuries, three of them coming in three years as a Lancashire player.
He has also reached 150 on five other occasions and, remarkably, has never been dismissed between 100 and 120.
“Everybody knows how difficult it is to bat, especially when you come in on nought,” he said. “The first 10-15 runs are very difficult.
“The easiest time to bat is when you’ve got a hundred. I know it’s difficult for a guy to come in and start.
“If you can make the most of it when the bowlers are down and you’re in form, you’re in the zone and hitting the ball nicely, you have to cash in and make the most of it. I try and push on as much as I can. More importantly, it’s getting the team into a good position.”
Vilas has enjoyed a superb summer in all formats.
He is the second leading run-scorer in Division Two with 965 runs at an average of 107.22 added to 439 runs in the early season Royal London One-Day Cup and 170 runs in the ongoing Vitality Blast.
Then has also kept wicket and captained the side impressively.
“So far, I’ve been very happy with my form,” he said. “It’s been good in the one-day and the T20 as well.
“The challenge was for every batsman and every bowler to put a contribution in for the team throughout every game this season. I think we’ve done that.
“If I set the challenge for the guys, you don’t just want to walk the walk. You have to put your money where your mouth is. When you ask guys to do things and believe and trust in you, you’re never going to ask guys to do something you wouldn’t.
“I’m quite harsh on the guys. If they let down the team or they let themselves down, they’ll never turn on you to say, ‘You don’t do this or that’.
“It’s important to lead by example. That’s not just as a captain, it’s from the senior players as well.
“You want to try and help everyone in their careers.”
Lancashire could secure promotion in the next round of fixtures (September 10-13) when they host Derbyshire.
Prior to that, they are back in T20 Blast action on Sunday at Worcestershire Rapids. Lancs need only one more win from their remaining three games to secure a quarter-final berth.