Pickup: Opening day win will set the tone for us!
Burnley captain Dan Pickup believes that the opening day win against Crompton at the MyProtein Turf Moor will set the tone for the rest of the season.
The club had a stuttering start to their 2017 campaign having suffered defeats to champions-in-the-making Clitheroe and this weekend’s opponents Todmorden after a washout at home to Bacup.
Burnley would go on to lose just one more game in the first phase of the campaign, ahead of the league splitting, but the damage had already been done.
Following the six-wicket win over the division’s newcomers, who joined from the Central Lancashire League, Pickup said: “We did well. We didn’t really know anything about them but it was nice to get off to a winning start and we did what we had to do. It was a tricky test for us.
“You can sometimes spend too long thinking about the opposition. It’s better to concentrate on ourselves and focus on putting on a good performance.
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“That way you don’t have any pre-conceptions about players. It can be a good thing to play a team that you don’t know anything about.
“There were some positive signs. We were a bit rusty at times but that’s expected because it was our first time back out on the grass.
“Last year we had a tough start after losing our first three. We wanted to put that right. We went on a 10-game unbeaten run in the middle of last season but we had been let down by our start and we were always playing catch up. This sets the tone for the campaign.”
Chris Holt has shed his coat as paid man, with Pakistani first class cricketer Asif Zakir taking on the responsibility this term, and Pickup believes that the long-serving all-rounder will thrive in an alternate role.
The 29-year-old, playing as an amateur this season, added 90 in an opening stand with Liam Bedford (34) as the hosts reached their revised DLS target of 142 in the 24th over.
“Holty and Liam Bedford batted really well at the top of the order and they effectively won the game for us,” said Pickup. “They were really impressive.
“Holty was brilliant. He bowled and batted superbly. The signs in that respect are very good. It’s a test for him but there’ll be a little less pressure on him now that he’s not the professional. He always expects high standards of himself whatever role he’s in.”
Meanwhile, Burnley will have professional Asif Zakir available for their trip to Centre Vale to take on Todmorden in the Lancashire League.
The Pakistani first-class cricketer, who represents Sui Southern Gas Corporation, was due to arrive at Turf Moor yesterday evening.
Skipper Dan Pickup claims that he’s heard nothing but good reports about the 34-year-old, who scored the most runs in the 2015/16 Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, with a total of 791 for the tournament.
Usman Tariq featured in the opening day win over newcomers Crompton, taking 3-29 in the six-wicket triumph on home soil.
“Our pro is here now and he’ll be available for Sunday,” said Pickup. “We had a sub pro at the weekend and he did really well for us. We’re looking forward to seeing him in action and hopefully he can slot straight in and help us kick on.
“I’ve spoken to a few people who have played with him and against him and I’ve heard nothing but good reports.
“His stats look really good and I’m sure he will fit in well. He’s been top drawer so hopefully he can settle, which is a big thing for professionals.”
Pickup added: “He’s pretty experienced and he’s played over here quite a bit. He’s got a really good first class record and been on the verge of a national call up a few times.
“His record stands up. He’s got a really good track record and we’re really fortunate to get him after being let down by a few people.
“He’s experienced to our conditions too and he provides us with a really healthy balance.”
Zakir has played in England before having featured for Walkden and Greenmount in the Bolton Cricket League, before the latter’s switch to the Greater Manchester structure, and Central Lancashire League outfit Heywood.