PROLIFIC spin bowler Bharat Tripathi admitted it was an ‘honour’ to be named new Burnley Cricket Club captain.
The 22-year-old replaced outgoing skipper Steven Brunt last week to take on the role he’s been longing for since attending Turf Moor with his dad, Pankaj Tripathi, in the ‘90s.
Bharat, who played at both Padiham and Lowerhouse, established a new amateur bowling record in 2009 with 76 wickets, surpassing Trevor Jones’ record of 72 from 1979. In achieving the record Tripathi took the same number of wickets that campaign as the league’s two leading professionals in Colne’s Anwar Ali and Enfield’s Gary Brent. He joined Liverpool as professional for a season before being welcomed back to his roots by chairman Michael Brown.
“It’s a massive honour, a huge privilege and I’m really proud,” he said. “I’ve always been quite natural at it because I inherited my dad’s leadership skills. I’ve always wanted to do it and finally they’ve asked me. I jumped at the chance.
“I’m a natural leader. I’ve done it in 40-over cricket from being 11 and 50-over from being 14. It was something instilled in me by my father. He’s a prominent figure in the dressing room and always pushed me towards doing it. He felt I had the quality to motivate people.”
Bharat added: “Burnley is a big club, one of the biggest in the league, so it’s a great opportunity. I’m absolutely relishing this task. Tactically I can help the team having captained from an early age. The first week went well enough on the pitch but I’m just getting used to the secretarial work with emailing and attending meetings. It’s a lot of hard work and effort being a club captain.”
Meanwhile, Bharat is hoping to climb the Lancashire Cricket League table during the forthcoming double-header weekend.
Burnley host 2010 champions Ramsbottom on Saturday before travelling to face third place Church at Blackburn Road on Sunday.
“We’ve got two massive games at the weekend,” he said. “We’re playing two of the best sides in the league and both have quality left-arm spinners. Ramsbottom have Jon Fielding and an excellent batting pro in Pieter Malan while Church have Saeed Anwar Jnr.”
He added: “I think we’ll be a tough team to beat on our own patch, which we’ve proved at times, and we’ve also had success at Church. We’ve got a slightly depleted squad at the weekend but I’m sure we can handle it.”
Rivals Lowerhouse are currently 13 points clear of their nearest competitors Enfield at the top of the table, though the West Enders have a game in hand.
Charlie Cottam’s side host Accrington at Liverpool Road on Saturday before hitting the road to face Rishton.
In the Houldsworth Solicitors Ribblesdale Cricket League Padiham are looking to step up their pursuit for fourth spot.
John Bushell’s men travel to the Marshfield Ground to face Settle on Saturday, with both teams level on points. The pair currently sit four points behind Clitheroe in the Lancashire Cup spots.
“When we get the chance to play it’s been going well,” said Bushell. “I have the luxury of a fully strength side at the weekend so hopefully the game will go ahead. We’ve got Callum Clarke back and also Nesir Mehmood so that’s two key players. We’re level on points with Settle in that race for fourth spot so it’s a big game.
“We want to consolidate that fourth spot and this is a great chance to take a step in the right direction. We’re only four points behind Clitheroe with half-a-season still to play so we’ve got a good chance. There’s still a long way to go and plenty of points to play for. We’ve still got most of the teams above us to play twice including Read, Baxenden and Settle so it’s in our own hands.”
Padiham’s triumph over Cherry Tree at the weekend has seen confidence and morale in the Arbories camp soar. But Bushell is fully aware that snatching fourth spot will be a tricky experience.
“It’s a difficult task because those teams are above us and have obviously shown more consistency at the start of the season,” he said. “But we are still progressing and improving so fingers crossed we can hit some form and capitalise on that. We’re not afraid of any of the teams in the league.
“Fourth spot keeps eluding us, it’s just never materialised but I’m confident we can get there if we continue playing the way we have been. We need to build on that great result from the weekend.”
Elsewhere in the league, Read will be hoping to close further ground on leaders Barnoldswick when they face Edenfield at Gincroft Lane on Saturday.
Read took full advantage in their fixture away at Oswaldtwistle Immanuel as Barnoldswick’s clash with Great Harwood at Victory Park was abandoned. The gap has now been reduced to 17 points.