Kabir Ali absolutely loved his taste of Roses cricket as a player and can’t wait to get stuck in again as a coach tomorrow night.

Ali is one of Yorkshire’s two new assistant coaches to Ottis Gibson.

The former England fast bowler ended his stellar playing career with two years at Lancashire in 2013 and 2014, playing in a Vitality Blast win, loss and a tie, including when Aaron Finch famously peppered The Point at Emirates Old Trafford in 2014.

“There’s no doubt about it, it’s a great fixture,” he said of the rivalry, which on this occasion will take place at Old Trafford in front of the Sky Sports cameras tomorrow night (6.30pm).

Lancashire legend David Lloyd said this week he believes this fixture is the best in T20 cricket anywhere in the world, and Ali couldn’t disagree: “I believe so,” he continued.

“Before I went to Lancs, I’d heard so much about the rivalry. But it’s always different when you’re on the outside.

“When I went there, the first one I played was at home, and it was absolutely packed.

“The tickets were sold out months before, like you always hear when India play Pakistan.

“But it’s the first time I’d experienced anything like that in county cricket – tickets go straightaway, you can’t get them and friends and family are ringing you to try and get them in.”

Ali played for the Lightning at Finals Day in 2014, though missed the final due to a shoulder injury. His late replacement was Andrew Flintoff, who had come out of retirement. They were beaten by home side Birmingham in the final.

“I loved it at Lancs,” he said. “It was at the back end of my career after Worcester and Hampshire, and I was glad I went there. It was a good experience with a good set of lads.

“From the squad I played in, most have moved on. There’s only one or two players still there. Steven Croft, Glen Chapple as coach.

“The rest have moved on or are coaching elsewhere like Tom Smith is with us.”

This will be Lancashire’s first game of the 2022 Blast. They have not lost a Roses game at Old Trafford since that aforementioned Finch clash in 2014, while they are on a seven-match unbeaten home streak dating back to the start of last summer.

Both sides will be jam-packed with talent. All of Yorkshire’s stars continue to be available, while Lancashire are expected to field powerhouse batting duo Liam Livingstone and Tim David following IPL duty.

England fringe players Phil Salt and Matt Parkinson will also play.

The Vikings beat Worcestershire by seven wickets at Headingley last night to make it a perfect start to their North Group campaign.

“It will be a cracking game,” continued Ali. “We are going into it on the back of a good win, and hopefully we can repeat that over there.”

Worcester made 172-9 having been 142-3 in the 16th over before Harry Brook’s unbeaten 60 led a chase completed with 11 balls remaining.

“We lost our way a little bit in their powerplay at the start, but we dragged it back and mixed our pace up well,” assessed Ali.

“Shadab and Rash bowled well and Tommo came back well before Haris finished it off. At one stage, we looked like we could be chasing a lot more.

“But we batted well. Mala and Lythy set the foundations for the chase, and we all know what kind of form Brooky’s in.”

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