Ilford captain Tavarasa fully focused on developing youth while also targeting survival

Ilford skipper Theeban Tavarasa (right) confirmed Ashar Zaidi (left) will not play for the club next

Ilford skipper Theeban Tavarasa (right) confirmed Ashar Zaidi (left) will not play for the club next season (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo) - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Ilford captain Theeban Tavarasa says this upcoming season will be about developing the club’s youngsters instead of pushing for honours, writes Jacob Ranson.

The Valentines Park outfit finished eighth in the Shepherd Neame Essex League Premier Division last term – one spot above the relegation places.

But they have since lost key players including former Essex batsman Ashar Zaidi, former club captain Shahzad Hafeez, Saf Imtiaz, and Gurdeep Kandola who has decided to retire from the sport.

“I’ve lost about four of my core players, but never the less we’ve signed a couple new players, they look very promising and their records are very good.

“We’ve got a lot of good youngsters coming through, running a cricket club is not all about winning leagues, it’s about developing players.

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“Hopefully I will be able to build a team that I don’t need worry about signing players up.

“At the moment we’re not too far away from being a very good team, but it will be a very tough season for us, I don’t want to be stupid and say we’ll be up there.

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“It’s something that is very exciting but worrying at the same time as they don’t have that experience to get through games.”

The right-arm off-break insists they will be aiming for a top five finish like last season but knows the real target is to remain in the top flight.

“It’s a long-term challenge and hopefully a few of them step up and perform for us this season.

“The goal has completely changed as when I had them big boys we wanted to finish in the top five.

“I’ll be honest I’ll say top five is the aim once again but just to stay in the Premier Division is our main goal.”

They have however moved to bring in Mehtab Malik, Talha and Bibin Chacko from the Surrey League along with the return of prolific opener Nigel Jacobs.

“Left-arm spinner from Surrey League called Mehtab Malik, he’s got a proven track record, and in his mid-30’s which is what we needed.

“We needed a senior guy in the team.”

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