Lancashire player/coach Glen Chapple has admitted that he is considering which side of the boundary rope his future lies following his side’s relegation to Division Two of the County Championship.
A final day draw with Middlesex was enough to condemn the Old Trafford club to their second relegation in three years, despite the efforts of Chapple.
The 40-year-old – who took charge of first team affairs earlier this summer – took five wickets and scored a crucial unbeaten 45 in the closing match of the season but it was not enough to provide an all important victory.
And now the one-time England international is considering whether or not he will continue playing first-class cricket next summer.
When Peter Moores departed Old Trafford to begin his second tenure as England head coach earlier this year, it was Chapple who stepped up to take the reins.
The all-rounder took full control as Lancashire head coach but was unable to steer the side away from relegation after inheriting a side already in the bottom two.
A narrow one-wicket win over Durham in August helped keep the fight for survival going until the very last game of the season, in which a play-off was effectively set-up between Lancashire and Middlesex.
But Chris Rogers’ double hundred at Taunton helped rescue a draw from the clutches of defeat against Somerset, handing them a healthy points advantage over their relegation rivals.
Lancashire – play at Old Trafford – needed to win the final game of the season as well as claiming three bonus points more than Middlesex.
It started well for the hosts as they dismissed their opponents for 214 before Chapple himself helped drag his side past the 300 mark with an unbeaten 45. Declaring on 302-8, Lancashire created a situation where winning the match would be enough to ensure survival.
But the visitors batted out the final day of the summer to save themselves and inflict a second relegation in three years for Lancashire.
Chapple won’t have to perform the combined roles of captain and coach if he does play on, with a new off-field appointment set to be made during the close-season.
However, the veteran Lancastrian is still unsure about his future. With 975 first-class wickets to his name, it is likely that Chapple would break the 1,000 barrier if he does continue to play in 2015.
After the final match of the season, Chapple told journalists: “I’ve not had as good a season as I’d have liked, but I don’t think that’s through age necessarily, and I felt good this game and really enjoyed it.”
Regardless of whether or not the club legend decides to play on or not, he would be a big help towards Lancashire’s County Championship promotion push next summer.