Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Horspath swoop to sign Indian star Sanklecha

Anupam Sanklecha in full flow. Pictures: Oxford Mail
HORSPATH have moved quickly to show they aim to bounce back next season by signing Indian all-rounder Anupam Sanklecha as their overseas player for 2020.

The club's three-year stay in Home Counties Premier League Division 1 came to an end last month when they were relegated following a tough campaign in which they lost South African Darryl Brown to a serious knee injury midway through the summer.

However, by signing Sanklecha, who was a prolific wicket-taker and steady run-scorer for Shipton-under-Wychwood in Division 2 from 2014-18, they have made their intentions clear that they intend to return to the top flight at the first attempt.

Hailing the 37-year-old's capture as a "brilliant signing", Horspath captain Will Eason knows from first-hand experience what a talented player-coach they will have in their ranks. "His record speaks for itself," he said. "We have played against him and know how good a player he is because of the damage he has done against us over the years. I think when we have played against him as a batting side in particular you are on edge about what he can do because he has such a high skill level.

"Over the last year and a half Darryl has been fantastic for us and we had to try and get someone in that can contribute as much to the club as he has. There's no-one better than someone we have played against and who has done it against us. You can reflect on our season in so many ways, but we didn't play well enough and didn't get enough points to stay up.

"There were games when we were on top and didn't finish sides off, particularly when we bowled second. We needed another five per cent that we didn't have once Darryl got injured, and it was pretty obvious in the second half of the season that we didn't have it. When you have a guy that produces spells like Anupam has over the years in your armory he will hopefully contribute to tight games like the ones we lost this year. But it's not just with the ball, he will contribute with the bat as well. In his last couple of years in the league he got 1,000 runs combined."

Anupam Sanklecha plays a classical cover drive
Sanklecha took 245 league wickets with his right-arm medium-fast bowling during his five seasons at Shipton. He was Division 2's leading wicket-taker on two occasions with his best return coming in 2017 when he claimed 63 victims, which included an amazing 8-8 against Reading.

A left-hand middle-order batsman, he also racked up 1,708 league runs at an average of 27.59 with a top score of an unbeaten 110 at Datchet in 2017 when he enjoyed his best campaign with 608 runs. He didn't play last season following Shipton's relegation in 2018, but is now preparing for another campaign in India with Maharashtra for whom he has taken 200 first-class wickets at an average of 25.60 and scored 923 runs.

Sanklecha came closest to helping Shipton up into the flight in 2014 when they finished third after being pipped to the second promotion place by Horspath. Eason believes that with both parties focused on the same target it will only serve Horspath well as they set their sights on a promotion challenge in 2020.

He added: "He is experienced at the level. He knows how to take wickets at the level and how to score runs as well. It's the perfect scenario for both of us. We have a new guy coming in who has a phenomenal record over the last five or six years. He knows the grounds and a lot of the players he will be playing against. He knows he can perform at this standard as he has done.

"We want to play at the top level. We realise and are honest enough to know we didn't play well enough in the last year. We have a good cluster of younger players who should be playing in that league and we want it to be through our club, plus some really good young lads who should be playing there in the future. There is also a bit of an incentive for him. It shows how keen we are to really push for promotion next year and I suppose for him there is a bit of unfinished business in terms of getting promoted into that top league."

Posted by: Russ