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England spinner Tom Hartley wants to improve his batting to avoid being frozen out at Lancashire

Tom Hartley has been a breakout success for England this winter with the ball but the slow left-armer intends to focus on his batting to avoid being frozen out at Lancashire.

Despite just 20 first-class appearances behind him and a modest record, Hartley fully vindicated his left-field selection for the tour of India by spinning England to a famous win in Hyderabad, while he tops the wicket-taking charts with 20 dismissals at an average of 33.45 after four Tests.

Hartley is gaining increasingly in confidence but he could be marginalised in the County Championship after Lancashire pulled off a coup by snapping up Australia off-spinner Nathan Lyon for the summer.

Rather than fret about his place, Hartley sees the upshot of the Red Rose signing a bowler with 527 Test wickets and will take steps to try to prevent the pair from being in direct competition with each other.

"I'm really trying to work on my batting and become more of that all-rounder role which makes me a lot easier to pick," Hartley said. "Playing alongside (Lyon) would be fantastic.

"I hope he's going to be fantastic for me and be a real game-changer. He's going to be great to learn off. He's probably going to be fed up of me by September. Hopefully we can get on really well.

"The type of bowler he is is something I'm trying to work on. The way he operates in Australia on pretty flat wickets, there are times when English wickets are pretty similar."

England head coach Brendon McCullum said last week it would be "slightly mad" if Hartley and Shoaib Bashir were overlooked by their counties having established themselves as Test cricketers on this trip.

While Hartley could be behind Lyon in the pecking order and Bashir set to play second fiddle to Jack Leach at Somerset, one solution would be to send the pair on loan to other counties.

"I think it's a bit early for that," Hartley said. "I'll do whatever is best for Lancashire and the team."

Hartley will instead concentrate on pumping up a respectable first-class batting average of 26.19. He has demonstrated his character in recent weeks by taking the attack to Ravichandran Ashwin, thumping India's premier spinner for four sixes in the series.

While there may still be more to work on before he can consider himself a fully-fledged all-rounder, Hartley is determined to show he can bring value with both bat and ball.

"I've made big strides in these last two years with my batting but I still feel there are gaps there and that (improving) only really comes with time at the crease," Hartley said.

"I think I get a bit carried away trying to hit sixes and fours. Sometimes I've just got to relax myself, take my time to get in and just have a bit more patience."

His adventurous approach to batting has been encouraged by McCullum and captain Ben Stokes, with Hartley bumped up to eighth in Ranchi after three Tests at number nine in the order.

"They're over the moon whenever I hit a six, that's what I get cheered for," Hartley said. "Coming back in the dressing room, that's what they talk to me about. It just encourages me to play more of them."

India are 3-1 up in the series heading into the final Test in Dharamsala, starting on Thursday and cooler conditions in the area could lead to England choosing an extra seamer and potentially discarding either Hartley or off-spinner Shoaib Bashir.

Irrespective of whether he features this week, Hartley believes all avenues are now open to him after previously drifting towards limited-overs opportunities before England came calling.

"The way it was going, I was naturally trailing down that white-ball route," Hartley added. "But that's just because there was more opportunities for me that way.

"Playing this series has really opened my eyes and made me believe that I can be a pretty good red-ball bowler. I've got a lot more confidence now.

"There will be extra incentive for me to play this summer and really try and do well for Lancs."

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