Dane Vilas: Lancashire captain says 'Everybody stuck their hand up' to help win promotion
Lancashire captain Dane Vilas has had a dream summer with the bat, leading from the front with over 1,000 Championship runs - but insists it was a team effort that won his side promotion.
Vilas averages an astonishing 101.60 from his 14 Championship innings.
But he admits that have been a lot of other key contributors to promoted Lancashire's seven wins in 12 matches.
"Everyone's stuck their hand up. And to do it with two games left I couldn't be prouder," he told BBC Radio Lancashire.
"It takes that takes stress out of it and means we can now concentrate on trying to lift the title too.
"There was a lot of pressure on us to do well but we handled it. And to captain the club has been a great honour," added the six-times capped South Africa Test player, who plays for Lancashire as a non-overseas player under the Kolpak ruling.
Vilas in line for personal milestone
Lancashire have two games left - at home to Middlesex next week, followed by a trip to promotion-chasing Durham - to earn the five more points they need to win the Division Two title for a third time, having previously also done so in 2005 and 2013.
Vilas had the frustration of losing their T20 Blast quarter-final last week when he selflessly blamed himself for the late bowling change that cost his side the game against Essex at Chester-le-Street.
To further ease the pain, he now also has the chance to create Lancashire history by finishing with the highest batting average for a full season by any player in the county's history, a record currently held by Australian Stuart Law, who is now coach of next week's opponents Middlesex, with 91 in 2003.
In his three seasons at Old Trafford, Vilas has upped his figures from 662 runs at an average of 33.10 in 2017, 792 runs at 37.71 in 2018, to this year's 1,016, but personal goals are secondary on his agenda.
"My goal coming over was to get 1,000 runs and I have achieved that which is fantastic," added Vilas, who has only been out twice in Championship cricket since 23 July.
"But, for me, the most important thing has been watching some of the youngsters come through and that has helped me.
"It's nice when you come out to bat when the young lads in front of you have created a good platform and I'm just glad I could contribute."
|Lancashire's top 10 run getters (who have scored 1,000 Championship runs in a season)|
|2019 - Dane Vilas||(1,016 at 101.60)||1947 - Cyril Washbrook||1,950 at 78.00|
|2003 - Stuart Law||1,820 at 91.00||1928 - Ernest Tyldesley||2,467 at 77.09|
|1948 - Cyril Washbrook||1,468 at 86.35||2013 - Simon Katich||1,097 at 73.13|
|1990 - Neil Fairbrother||1,681 at 80.04||1927 - Charlie Hallows||2,119 at 73.06|
|1990 - Michael Atherton||1,170 at 78.00||1946 - Cyril Washbrook||1,938 at 71.77|
'We'd like to get Maxwell back'
As well as playing a key role in Lancashire's march in the T20 Blast, Australian Glenn Maxwell also played four Championship matches either side of his efforts at the World Cup.
He hit one half-century and took 14 wickets - and Vilas is keen to get him back next summer to boost his side's hopes back in Division One of the Championship, subject to Australia's international commitments.
"Anyone who becomes part of Lancashire is always welcome," said Vilas. "You never know what the international schedule is and how busy he's going to be.
"But, if he's feeling up for it next year or the year after and the schedule allows it - it would be great to have him back if we could.
"Glenn's been fantastic. It's not just the calibre of player he is, but more importantly for us it's how he's been in the changing room.
"He's helped a lot of the youngsters, even the senior players. He's played all over the world - he's a fantastic guy - and you learn from him.
"To see how he trains and what he thinks about the game has been really good. He's a true pro, and we're very happy to have him."