Ashwell Prince believes facilities like Torrisholme Cricket Club’s new nets are key to bringing through Lancashire’s next stars.
The South African was the guest of honour as the new facility was opened at Boundary Meadow on Thursday night.
Lancashire batsman Prince, a former Morecambe Cricket Club professional who played 66 test matches, was invited due his friendship with Torrisholme’s Graham Lee and was given a warm welcome as he signed autographs and caught up with old friends.
The 38-year-old said: “I signed for Morecambe in 1999 and Graham was around playing for the club.
“I stayed with him for the two years I played for Morecambe and it’s been a great friendship ever since then.
“We lived in Torrisholme and he had links with them from playing for them as a youngster and it being the area where he grew up.
“It’s nice to be back, it’s nearly 15 years now.
“I’ve been up to visit once or twice over the last few years but to be invited over by the club is nice.”
And the popular left-hander was impressed with what he saw with a £54,240 Sport England grant helping build three fully-enclosed practice nets at their ground on Barley Cop Lane.
Prince said: “You want to encourage the kids to come out and this kind of facility will do exactly that.
“I think the work that Mark (Drinkall, chairman) and the executive of the club are doing in improving the club is the encouragement the kids need.
“We’ve seen faces from around here, Liam Livingstone is from not too far away (Barrow), come into the Lancashire team in recent years and that’s what you want to see.”
The nets mean that for the first time the club can run both a game on the square and a practice session at the same time.
Heysham to M6 Link builders Costain have also supported the project.
Prince in no rush to make a decision about retirement
Ashwell Prince is in no hurry to make a decision about his future.
The popular Lancashire County Cricket Club batsman has already postponed retirement once and after a strong start to the new season there are already calls for the 38-year-old to carry on into 2016.
The South African said: “At the moment I’m taking it game-by-game.
“I’ve got one or two interests that are starting back home in South Africa but that was a similar situation last year.
“We’re not even halfway through the season so I don’t want to make a commitment either way and we’ll see closer to the end of the season.” Prince’s decision to play on in 2015 was in part down to Lancashire’s relegation from the top tier of English four-day cricket with the Red Rose going the right way about bouncing straight back.
He said: “It’s a big club and we know that the club should be in the first division and challenging for that championship, not the second division.
“But you are where you are because of your results and basically because of your own doing.
“At the end of the day it’s up to us to rectify that and we’ve had a good start.”