WHEN opportunity knocks you have to open the door, but Alex Davies has gone one better and battered it down with Lancashire this summer — according to former England international Mark Butcher.

With Jos Buttler on international duty with England for a busy Ashes summer, 21-year-old Davies was given his chance with the gloves for the Red Rose and has made a massive impact.


The East Lancashire star hit 730 runs from 14 County Championship matches at an average of more than 40. Those numbers show his red-ball talent, while he was also man of the match in the T20 Blast final won by Lancashire at Edgbaston last month.

All that led to his nomination this year for the LV= Breakthrough Player Award and Butcher has been very impressed by the youngster’s showings.

“Under circumstances whereby Jos hadn’t been away for the whole summer, Alex might not have got a gig,” Butcher said.

“It’s a big thing for him, but it’s also a big thing for Lancashire that a young homegrown wicketkeeper is able to nail down a place and impress enough to be nominated for the LV= Breakthrough Player Award.

“Obviously the situation changes any time soon when Jos Buttler returns, but he has a real chance of impressing and pushing his career on that extra bit further.”

Lancashire ended a successful season with a draw at Essex in their final match which meant they missed out on the title to Surrey, despite having led Division Two for much of the campaign.

And if they are to end the yo-yoing of the past few seasons between the top flight and the second tier, youngsters like Davies — who hails from Darwen — will need to come to the fore.

And Butcher has called on the powers that be at Old Trafford to take a leaf out of their huge rivals Yorkshire if they want to have sustained success.

“There have been criticisms of Lancashire in the past that they’ve relied too heavily on overseas imports,” the former Surrey and England batsman added.

“The challenge for Lancashire is going to be how they manage to replace someone like Ashwell Prince, how they bring through their youngsters.

“They have to look across the Pennines perhaps at how Yorkshire do that on a regular basis, but real challenges lie ahead for Alex Davies.

“As a wicketkeeper, you’ve got to be exceptional because there’s only one of you in an 11.”