North Middlesex captain is stepping down due to having to remain ‘shielded’ in crisis
- Credit: George Phillipou/TGS Photo
North Middlesex captain Joel Hughes will ‘miss out this season’ due to having to remain shielded during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Hughes will hand over first-team captaincy responsibilities to North Midd’s director of cricket James Parslow as he cannot risk playing as they get set to return to action for a short season.
The defending champions start off with a clash at home to Richmond on Saturday as they look to retain their Premier Division crown without the services of their title-winning skipper.
“I’ve stepped down as captain as I’m on two types of Immunosuppressants, so I’ve been advised and am still supposed to be shielding,” Hughes said.
“I’ve been advised that cricket is probably not worth the risk this season, so I’m not going to play, and our director of cricket James Parslow has taken over as captain.”
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Hughes expects the season to be a good one for his club and knows his team-mates will all be excited to get back out playing alongside each other.
“It was always going to be quite an enjoyable season having won last year and with our team staying pretty much the same and the younger lads being another year older,” he added.
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“There would have been some issues with Middlesex with Joe (Cracknell) and Luke (Hollman) probably getting more of a run with them, so we were never sure about their availability.
“It’s pretty gutting to be missing out, but having said that it’s going to be a very different half-season to anything we’ve seen before, and I think people are mainly happy to see each other and have a bit of fun.
“I’m sad not to be part of that, but in terms of the cricket it’s kind of the last thing I’m thinking about right now.
“I just got off the phone to our first-team manager, our second team have got Richmond away and he was saying he doesn’t know how to get everyone there safely – it’s a logistical nightmare.
“I’m relieved to be out of that side of things!”
North Middlesex are expected to hand more opportunities to youngsters, being that it is a short 2020 season, to embed them into the first-team.
“I think it’s a great opportunity to give the younger lads a go,” added Hughes.
“They’re about ready to have a go in the first team and they will get their opportunity, so I think lots of good can come out of it.
“Fingers crossed we can keep improving and giving exposure to the first-team potentials.”