We began our season at Mission Road, confronted by locked gates. The HKCA’s policy of not opening Mission Road until shortly before the scheduled start can be somewhat frustrating, but we didn’t let it put us off, and we began with a victory – by defending a small total against a valiant Mainlanders outfit. This was a typical result in some senses – we bowled and fielded grittily all season – but atypical in that Peter Wooden barely scored.
Early in the season I wrote about the balance between the individual and the team in cricket, a game in which so many key confrontations are individual, yet the team ethic so important. I love cricket, and I hate clichés, so I want genuinely to understand where this balance lies.
Saracens finished 8th in the Saturday league this season – thus making the play-offs, and we also won the Jungu Vachha Shield by beating the other two KCC Saturday sides. It would be naïve to believe we could have had this same success without Peter Wooden, who led Hong Kong’s batting statistics both in terms of runs scored – over one thousand – and in terms of average – 108. He was also our leading wicket-taker with the ball. It is invidious in a team game to talk too much about individuals – and I have never met anyone who carries his enormous talent quite as lightly and humbly as Peter Wooden – but it is necessary to salute the colossal contribution he has made to this team in terms of results, but perhaps even more importantly in terms of helping our key young players to develop.
That youth talent has been another major positive this season. Vice-captain Kunal Parwani, his opening fast-bowling partner Aditya Kanthan, elegant bat Vikash Vaswani, mercurial Waqar Dawood, and absolute rock Roshan Dadlani have all developed strongly, and have contributed enormously to the great camaraderie and energy in the Saracens.
Alongside that youth has been the wisdom and expertise borne of experience. Ravi Sujanani has had an immense season with both bat and ball – second in the team statistics behind only Peter Wooden – as has evergreen Robin Gill behind the stumps. Shiroy Vachha has enjoyed playing as the Senior Pro, and has shown his class in taking a couple of sensational catches and also demonstrating the straightest Saracen bat in our ultimate play-off loss to Nomads.
I want also to thank particularly Matt Collins, Zubair Nizami, Chris McAnulty, Azeem Ebrahim, and Louis Chan for their unfailing support and advice, especially when I might have captained less than wisely or could have shown greater insight.
It was a fine season for Saracens, a privilege to captain the side, and I look forward to even greater success in 2011-12.
By Tim Parkinson