KARL Krikken insists Lancashire are aiming to be world leaders in developing homegrown cricketers.

The Horwich man, who learned the game playing in the Bolton League, has this winter taken on the combined role of junior and assistant first-team coach at Emirates Old Trafford.

Last February, the former Derbyshire wicketkeeper was appointed lead coach of the Lancashire Indoor School.

But as part of a restructure of the county’s age-group pathway programme in November, Krikken was handed the job of overseeing their 10-to-13-year-olds alongside helping first-team coach Glen Chapple.

It is a role Krikken, who played both Bolton League and Association cricket before joining Derbyshire in the mid 1980s, is hugely excited about.

“I’m in charge of the lower end of the pathway, to try and get some basics into the youngsters so the progression happens a bit earlier,” he said.

“The system has run well over a period of time and has produced many players.

“I’m honoured to be part of it and hope to bring some more cricketers through.

“Paul (Allott, Lancashire’s director of cricket) is hoping we can get back to having as many Lancastrians in the side as possible.

“There are a good number in there now, but you can always have more. And if we produce too many, they can always go elsewhere.

“Ultimately, we want to be the world’s best at producing cricketers.”

At present, Lancashire’s first-team squad includes Boltonians Josh Bohannon, Haseeb Hameed and Matthew Parkinson.

“Bolton is a hotbed, and has been down the years, going back to the likes of myself, Ronnie Irani, Warren Hegg and Mike Watkinson,” he continued.

“In time, there will be more, but there’s talent coming from everywhere in the county.”

Krikken says his time spent with the first team will work on a “suck it and see” basis, with the plan for him to split the job with Mark Chilton, who is also overseeing the entire junior pathway programme as a new performance director.

But he insists: “First and foremost, the 10s-13s has to work really well.”

Krikken, from Horwich, says his love for cricket came from his father Brian.

“I started at Horwich, then went to Tonge and British Aerospace – which is now Lostock. Then I went from Astley Bridge to Derbyshire,” he said.

“I played all the age groups for Lancs, but I’d gone by the time I was 17.

“I played England Schoolboys at Lancashire and played a few second-team games at 15.

“But, fortunately for Lancashire and unfortunately for me, Warren Hegg was a year older, so I had to move.

“I played at Derbyshire for 17 years and coached for 10, finishing as head coach. It didn’t end too well, but it’s worked out well in that I’ve come back home as such.”

On his playing days in the Bolton leagues, he added: “Keeping to the likes of Keith Eccleshare at Bridge are great memories. He was a legend and good enough to play first class. But he had his football career as well.

“Playing with Keith, Ray (Eccleshare) and Steve Goodram down there at Astley Bridge was fabulous.

“But also my foundation years at Horwich with David White, Mark Knowles, Peter Litherland and Mark Taylor.

“I still keep in regular contact with Dave Fairbrother, another legend of the league.

“Dave was brilliant when I started. He played with me at Lostock for a season. But I had to get fitter, and he even came running up the Pike with me.”