IT is tricky to talk about a cricketer having a good game when his team has lost, but in Luke Procter’s case it may be in Lancashire’s interest to do so.
In his side’s two-wicket defeat to Durham at Southport Procter made 30 and 122, the latter being his second century of the County Championship season.
Those innings took his tally for the first division campaign to 572 at an average of 38, not a startling record, perhaps, but impressive enough when one considers that Procter has spent the entire season batting at number three.
It’s the pivotal place in the order where a batsman may be facing the new ball or looking to accelerate.
So for Red Rose coach Ashley Giles, Procter's position is an indication of the faith the Lancashire coach has in the 28-year-old.
“Luke's a gritty and determined player, and the more runs he gets, the more he will feel like he's at home here,” said Giles.
“There are times when he looks, himself, like he's not confident enough of being here.
“We have trust in him that he can bat at three, and it is the same thing with Tom Smith at the top of the order. To a degree, we are asking guys to play out of their comfort zone, and they are getting on with it. There are no arguments from them.”
And whatever Procter thinks of batting at three, he knows it is infinitely better than his experience in 2015, when he played just one T20 game for Lancashire.
Now he has a regular spot and, quite frequently, the task of helping the immensely talented Haseeb Hameed through his freshman year in first team cricket .
"The way Luke played on day three against Durham was magnificent,” said Giles. “If he continues to play like that, he's going to get a lot of runs.”
"All the time, we need to be looking at our best formula,” said Giles.
“At some point, Liam Livingstone's going to have to come up the order, so we're going to have to shuffle things a little bit. The guys have dove-tailed pretty well, we've got scores on the board, and we're still challenging.
“The defeat against Durham will drop us down the order a bit but it still leaves us within one win of the top.”