New Heywood CC skipper Danny Pawson expects his side to show an abundance of energy in the field in 2014.
Pawson, 22, has taken over the reins at Crimble, following the decision of Bobby Cross to step down after a decade at the helm.
Although one of the top amateur cricketers in the CLL, Pawson admits the captaincy will be a huge challenge for him. However, despite a successful season which saw Heywood win the Wood Cup and make the semi-finals of the LCB KO Cup, he feels there are ways he can make his side into an even greater force.
He said: “Firstly, I would like to say it’s an absolute honour to be asked to take on this role and I know that the members will support me – all I ask in return is just a little bit of patience.
“Obviously, there is always room for improvement. I think that we can be a lot more active in the field.
“There are times where we do not show enough energy. I’m not talking about being over-the-top aggressive, but we do need to show some fight in the field. With the youth in the side there are no excuses for low energy levels.
“I think 2013 was maybe a bit of a shock to some people. Although the potential of the side is there to see, it is very difficult for a young side to keep going for such a long time.
“We have to look at the successes from last year, i.e. winning the Wood Cup and reaching the semis of the Lancs knockout, and build on that.
“Personally I know I can do a lot better, for one more hundreds is a must.
“I know that there is some criticism out there about the way I play but it is something that needs work and there are times when I have shown responsibility and it now needs to be shown more often.”
If there is criticism of Pawson – and from the sidelines, what criticism there is is always constructive – it can only be very minor.
His keeping has been excellent over the past few years, especially stood up to the medium-pacers. And his aggressive batting is a pleasure to watch, although as he says he is too talented not to be racking up the big numbers in the middle. Few players, however, can match him for dominating spinners.
The biggest challenge Pawson feels he might face is being compared to former skipper Cross. With more than 11,000 runs for Heywood and a host of honours to show for his 10 years in charge, Cross certainly is a hard act to follow.
But if we follow the analogy he outlines below to its conclusion, like the Manchester United manager success will come Pawson’s way.
“It’s a very exciting new chapter in my career, something that I am really looking forward to. Of course, it is a big challenge, obviously taking over from Bobby is no easy thing and I feel a bit like David Moyes if I’m honest.
“It will be a challenge but one I will definitely not shy away from. I have a lot of confidence in the squad I am inheriting with a lot of potential and massive amounts of talent.
“To be honest, I have had very little experience in senior cricket as captain but I have done a lot in junior cricket and representative roles.
“It goes without saying that it will be tough to follow what is probably the most successful era in the club’s history but I know that I will have the support of all the members and more importantly the players.
“I’d actually like to thank Bobby for all the support he has given me during my time at Crimble and I’m sure that this will continue and I know he is there if ever I need any advice as I have been for him whenever he needed it.
“It may be difficult at first but there are advantages to being behind the sticks and captaining a side. I think it will definitely make setting the field a lot easier. “
2014 is a big year in the CLL with lots of sides strengthening their playing staff.
The two-division structure is in its final season before re-evaluation and just staying in the division this year will be a solid achievement.
But with a new professional in George Worker, and the backing from the CLL’s best supporters, Pawson is excited about his side’s prospects.
He continued: “It’s always the case that when a new professional arrives it’s an exciting time.
“By all accounts, George is a very, very good player and hopefully he can help us all improve and I’m honest I don’t want us to worry about anyone else – I know that if we turn up wanting to win and be the better side then we can beat anyone.
“I believe that the 2014 season will be successful for us.
“The players we have are far too good to not be a part of a great side – for instance Ross (Zelem) will be on the back of a season in Australia and I know that that helped my game a hell of a lot. Bobby will have the freedom to do what he does best and with Humza (Naeem) we have what I believe is the best young opening bowler in the league.”
Pawson has moved quickly to ensure one vital role is filled by appointing Dale Latham as his vice-captain, a sound move given the need to have a solid character in this important role.
Pawson added: “I want Dale to be my driving force in the field, he is probably our best fielder and he needs to be the one driving us through.
“I know he was disappointed with his batting performances last year but it’s only a matter of time before he pulls through and will start contributing and be a crucial part of the team.”
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