PURTON captain Elliot Hill reckons anyone claiming his side are a one-man team is just jealous.
India Under 19 international Akarshit Gomel returns to the club this weekend, having arrived in the country on Thursday, and the all-rounder goes straight into the Purton side for the trip to Devizes in the WEPL Wiltshire Division on Saturday.
Gomel’s stockpile of runs and wickets played a major part in Purton’s promotion from the Wiltshire League last season and, with Hill’s outfit having lost their first two games at their new level without him, comments have been made locally about their reliance on their overseas star.
However, Hill has stressed that the rest of the Purton squad is more than capable of grinding out results on their own and any jibes being thrown around are being said with green eyes.
“There are a few snide comments that get thrown my way from a few local friends about how we’re Akki Cricket Club but there are 10 other guys in the side on Saturday, who have proven over the last few weeks that the XI guys without Akki are more than capable of competing in this league and probably should have won two games without him,” he told the Advertiser.
“Unfortunately we haven’t and that is probably going to add fuel to people’s banter that we can’t win without Akki.
“If they want to say that that’s fine.
“I’m quite happy to win, regardless of who’s playing alongside me. He’ll be a massive boost to us on Saturday and hopefully he can hit the ground running like he did last year.
“Internally at the club we know we’re more than just one guy. To be honest, I think some clubs are slightly envious.
“That’s for them to answer but I’m not particularly concerned about other clubs in other leagues who may or may not have strong overseas.
“It is what it is, Akki’s a great player and they’d bite their hand off to have him in their side if the opportunity arose.
“Unfortunately they haven’t and we’re the ones with him in the side.
Hill branded tomorrow’s trip to Devizes as a “must-win” encounter, though Purton will have to do so without opening batsman Elijah Samuel and seamer Aaron Lee.
“It’s sort of a must-win game for both sides,” he said. “In my opinion, the club over the last two years has lost very few games of cricket and a strong winning culture has got embedded within the first and second teams.
“Where we haven’t started as we’d have liked this season, there are a few wounded people at the club who are hurting and we’ll be a dangerous beast come Saturday and hopefully that will spur us on to victory.”