New Midi Cricket Club captain Ankush Lal is confident that the club can build on its successful 2015 league campaign, boosted by a stronger squad and the return of former leading players Jason Armstrong and Rob Bowyer.
Ankush, who takes over from Paul Rogers, was instrumental in taking the club in its 10th anniversary year to an unprecedented three league victories with a batting average of 43.88, which included a century against Armagnac-Bigorre CC.
“I am very pleased about our performance in the last season,” he told the club’s website. “it was a collective effort which gave us some great results. This year we know we have everything in place to win our division!”.
The club will have seasoned veteran all-rounder Dom George on board again to support Ankush. George topped the club’s league batting averages last season with 54.50 runs and was second in the bowling averages behind the club’s South African import Patrick Dubois, who is also expected to be a major threat again as the main strike bowler.
The other welcome news is that Dubois’ fellow South African Jason Armstrong will be back in the club fold after taking a sabbatical in 2015. Armstrong had made the opening slot his own and provided the cornerstone to a number of Midi innings during the 2014 season.
The pre-season weather has also been kind to the club which has been able to organise Sunday practise sessions at its St Pons de Mauchiens ground from early February. One enthusiastic participant has been all-rounder Rob Bowyer whose name sits proudly in the club’s hall of fame with an unbeaten 118 against Armagnac in 2009.
Following an early March practice which attracted 13 players, Ankush felt that the club would be in a much better position to field a complete team for its away league matches this season. “Failure to field a full team had a considerable impact on our results. With the return of Jason, the joining of Gaurav and with more pre-season practice than last year, we will definitely see a big improvement in the quality of our cricket,” Ankush said.
The club has a true multi-ethnic mix with players of Indian, South African, English, Dutch, American and French extraction. The weight of experience in the club will be boosted by the raw experience and enthusiasm of its two French youngsters, Pierre and Lucas Zivanovic, products of the club’s junior programme who have made great strides every season and whose quicksliver fielding has saved the club scores of runs.
The club opens its league campaign on Saturday, 7 May at home to Toulouse CC following the 2016 season curtainraiser Family Day on Sunday 24 April at St Pons. Players. family and friends of the club are all invited to a BBQ and a social cricket match in the afternoon.
The Toulouse match will be followed by a friendly double-header on May 14/15 against a touring team from Andorra who enjoyed their weekend at St Pons so much last year, they want to do it all again in 2016. “The club always makes touring teams very welcome and they appreciate our hospitality,” said Club President Marc Dalling. “We also had two very competitive matches against them.”