Dane Vilas re-signed for Lancashire as their Overseas player and captain for the upcoming season. And scored a magnificent century in the first match of the season against Sussex which ended in a draw after snow interrupted the last 2 days of play.
Entering his fifth season with the county, Vilas has become an integral part of the team both on and off the field.
And before the campaign started, he spoke to Merseysportlive’s Michael Grimes about lockdown and previewing the season ahead.
Vilas did have an initial contract that ran for a few more years, but because of Brexit, it made things a bit more trickier.
On the contract, Vilas said: “I was fortunate enough that the club had kept faith in me and wanted me to be around” he then went onto say that “the club have been fantastic, they’ve sorted it all out, they’ve honoured their contract and wanted to keep me around for a little bit longer”
Last year, the team played most of their matches away from Old Trafford due to the ground being an International covid base, but this season, most home matches are being played at the ground in Manchester, and Vilas believes that it will help the county massively in the upcoming season and hopes that the team can “play well here (Old Trafford)”
Previewing the season, the South African was happy with the way things were going with the team in training and in bubbles and wants to once again, challenge for all three trophies (Bob Willis Trophy, T20 Blast, Royal London One Day Cup).
And he believes that they have a strong enough squad to be able to fulfil that aim and hopes the team can get players to be regulars in the England squad.
One player who is already an England legend is fast bowler James Anderson, with the paceman continuing to front the bowling attack, and Vilas heaped praise on England’s most successful wicket taker by hailing him as an inspiration to the young players who play for the county as well as the veterans, simply saying “he inspires all of us”
Lockdown has posed challenges for many, including Vilas who lives in London with his wife and 2 small children, but has enjoyed the time he’s been able to spend with his family. He enjoyed “reconnecting with them”
As well as keeping up his training regime by running 5kms and 10kms and joining the peloton cycling app.
The Lancashire captain also turned to education, revealing that he’s currently studying a masters degree at Manchester Metropolitan University in Sports Directorship, saying “I’ve tried to stay as busy as possible and I think it’s a good time to do that”
One thing that has been missed from all sports, not just cricket has been the fans, and Lancashire do have regular fans who travel around the country with the team.
With Vilas saying that’s one thing the team have really missed, especially at the out grounds, which has seen some of Lancashire’s best performances over the years. With Liverpool Cricket Club playing a massive part in the county’s 2011 championship victory
But Vilas is hopeful by the summer, once the vaccine has been rolled out, that fans will be able to return to grounds.
It remains to be seen how the season plays out after the draw against Sussex.
You can watch the full interview from a couple of months ago below: