Lancashire are open to the future return of overseas trio James Faulkner, Glenn Maxwell and BJ Watling, but director of cricket Paul Allott insists nothing is certain.

The county agreed to cancel deals with all three players, who were due to wear the Red Rose in 2020 before coronavirus kicked in to decimate the domestic summer schedule.

New Zealand wicketkeeper-batsman Watling was due to play the first nine County Championship games in his first spell with the club, while Australian all-rounders Faulkner and Maxwell were both due to return and play in the Vitality Blast, a competition which would have started this weekend.

Allott has praised the players for how they dealt with contractual discussions and would welcome all of them back to Emirates Old Trafford – as long as some ifs and buts are satisfied.

“They may be back with us in the right circumstances,” said the former England seamer. “I would welcome them all back, but there are conditions attached.

“All three of them were hugely amenable to not fulfilling their contracts, which we are very grateful for.”

While Lancashire announced their deal to sign Watling shortly after he scored a Test double century against England in late November, they had agreed the contract before then.

“With BJ, there was nothing we could do because we would have been halfway through his contract now and there’s no cricket, and he’s stuck in New Zealand anyway and can’t get out,” said Allott.

“Given his pedigree and recent form, we’d look at him as an overseas batsman again. But there’s no agreement.

“Jimmy Faulkner, we’ve agreed with him to revisit his contract next year subject to fitness, form and terms. Glenn Maxwell, we’d have back any time, but who knows when he’s going to be available given international commitments and such.

“Maxi’s one of the top one-day cricketers in the world at the minute. With his all-round skill and dynamism, and leadership – he’s infectious in the dressing room, he’s a natural pick.

“He set off on the right foot with five wickets against Middlesex at Lord’s last year, effectively winning that first Championship game for us.”

While Maxwell scored 644 runs and took 29 wickets and 16 catches in 22 matches across all formats last summer, Faulkner has played three seasons of T20 Blast cricket since 2015.

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He was a title winner with them in 2015, shortly after being named as man-of-the-match in Australia’s one-day World Cup final win over New Zealand, and has scored 461 runs and taken 56 wickets.

The 30-year-old left-arm seamer is one of only seven players to have taken 50 wickets or more for the county in T20 cricket, with current team-mates Stephen Parry, Steven Croft and Matthew Parkinson amongst them. Coach Glen Chapple is also on that list.

“I don’t think Jimmy would mind me saying he’s not the player he was when he won man-of-the-match in that World Cup final, but he’s still a hugely effective cricketer,” added Allott.

“He has been fundamental to our T20 success for a number years now, and we would want to have him back if everything lines up.”

Meanwhile, Allott has praised the rest of Lancashire’s squad for their handling of the coronavirus situation.

They are one of only two county squads who have not been furloughed alongside Surrey and have been heavily involved in a number of club initiatives from speaking to members to charity work.

“I was firmly against furloughing them in the initial stages of this because we have a duty to our players to look after them,” said Allott.

“We have provided them with training equipment and contact them regularly through the week via the coaches and medical and fitness staff, myself and our sports psychologist Lee Richardson.

“Added to that, the effort they’ve put in to support the club has been fantastic.

“They’ve been ringing members up to chat to them and see if they’re ok, they’ve been speaking to some of our sponsors and stakeholders.

“The players couldn’t have been more supportive, and it shows just how united we are as a club and as a team. And we will keep that going.”