CAPTAINCY is proving more of a blessing than a burden for Bradshaw professional Saeed Anwar Jnr after taking charge of the team in his second season at the club.
The Rigby’s Lane men are unbeaten in the Pakistani all-rounder’s first five games as captain, which have included four wins and a draw.
Far from affecting his own form, the extra responsibility has had the opposite effect, with Anwar Jnr averaging 116 with the bat after hitting two big centuries in his first four innings, while also taking 14 wickets.
“I have captained the teams I play for back home in Pakistan for the past seven years, so it is nothing new for me,” said Anwar Jnr, who leads Faisalabad-based first class side Khan Research Laboratories and T20 outfit Multan Tigers.
“I do not see the captaincy as an added pressure, it is a challenge and one that I am comfortable with.
“But team sport should not be about individuals. The boys are right behind me, but they also want to win for each other, and so far so good.”
Playing cricket in English conditions also seems to come easily to Anwar Jnr.
In his first season in the Bolton League, in 2000, the 35-year-old helped Greenmount to claim their first ever Hamer Cup.
He went on to enjoy a number of successful seasons in the Lancashire League before moving to Bradshaw from Church last year.
After wins against title contenders Westhoughton and Egerton already this campaign, Bradshaw will be in confident mood as they entertain league leaders Farnworth Social Circle tomorrow.
But after starting off last season in similar vein, before falling away to finish seventh, Anwar Jnr is wary of getting too carried away.
“We are not thinking about a whole season, we are only thinking about it game by game,” he said.
“I don’t want to put any extra pressure on our players by looking too far ahead.
”I don’t even know who we have after Farnworth Social Circle, but they will give us enough to think about.
“They are playing very good cricket at the moment, but we are looking forward to it and the boys will be working very hard to try to get the win.”
Anwar Jnr is quietly confident, however, that his players are talented enough to mount a serious title challenge.
Bradshaw have added batsman Jon Kerrigan, who captained last season’s title winners Little Lever, and Anwar Jnr’s former Church team-mate Mohamed Jameel.
“Jonny has brought that winning mentality to the dressing room and given us an extra edge,” said the Bradshaw captain.
“I think we now have the best technical team in the league and are also much more organised than last year.
“My test now is to get the best out of my players, but I think as a group we believe in ourselves and go into every game with great confidence.”