Lancaster sign up Pakistan international as new professional

Michael Barry.
Michael Barry.

Pakistan Twenty20 international Rameez Raja Jnr will be Lancaster Cricket Club’s professional for the 2015 season.

The hard-hitting batsman replaces popular Kiwi Michael Barry at Lune Road with the all-rounder unable to return due to work commitments.

New chairman Brendan Hetherington said: “Michael’s return depended on his work and it hasn’t worked out.

“We wanted him to come back because of his performances last year but that doesn’t mean we’re disappointed with what we’ve got.

“We’re over the moon.

“A few people have been up to the early hours sorting this deal over the past few weeks.”

One issue for the club in a disappointing 2014 was problems with their Lune Road ground and pitch with one game against Chorley being called off due to an unfit surface.

Hetherington, the head of a new-look committee at the club, said work is being done to improve in that area.

He said: “There’s plenty of investment going on in that area.

“We’re talking to a groundsman and are working on getting more machinery in conjunction with the ECB.

“We’re looking at possible grants as well. We’re just more organised which we haven’t been for the last two or three years.”

There is also a renewed focus on the youth section at Lune Road as Hetherington, first team skipper Ben Simm and others look to build for the future.

Hetherington, the first team wicketkeeper for 20 years, said: “We’ve got people going in to schools.

“The youth section is the backbone of the club and it’s about building a strong foundation for the future.”

The club will hold their junior registration night on Saturday, February 28.

The event at Lune Road starts at 4.30pm and is followed by food and a DJ.

Lancaster’s Natwest Cricket Force day, where volunteers will work on the ground, is on March 28 at 10am.