Clitheroe’s Naeem leads by example

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AS a captain in cricket it’s imperative to lead by example.

It’s a skipper’s prerogative and that’s the mentality that Clitheroe captain Naeem Ashraff will always live by.

His influence at Chatburn Road has been nothing short of mesmerising and his weekend performance was reflective of that character.

In the 20/20 Group One game against Earby on Friday he stood firm alongside paid man Zahoor Elahi to establish an unbroken 104-run stand for the third wicket to register a 68-run victory versus Earby. Elahi top-scored with 94 while Ashraff smashed four fours and four sixes on his way to 60 after facing just 30 deliveries.

Club spokesman Farouk Hussain said: “It’s very reassuring that he’s still capable of churning out those big scores because he was struggling a bit earlier on in the season. In the 20/20 we were quite low on runs but he’s come in and developed a great partnership with the professional.”

And the following day that display was enhanced with an astonishing 133 not out against Oswaldtwistle Immanuel at New Lane in the Ribblesdale Cricket League. A staggering total of 12 fours and eight sixes enabled Ashraff to accumulate that tally. In fact his solitary total out-scored the opposition in its entirety.

“Like-wise on Saturday he held it together and showed everybody what he can do because he was back to his best,” Farouk said. “His game was measured and then in the final over of the innings he hammered four sixes to put the final nail in the coffin as far as Oswaldtwistle were concerned. That psychologically lifted the side and demoralised the opposition.”

Ashraff’s impact has sparked new life in to last year’s champions who have now won seven consecutive matches. He has become the league’s second most prolific amateur run scorer with 437.

“Naeem scoring runs gives everyone else confidence and hopefully this could be the start of a prolific spell for him,” Farouk said. “There’s a lot of pressure on him as captain and a batsman but that will give him a huge lift.”

He added: “He is a massive influence. The lads respect him because of his pedigree and his international credentials. People look up to him across the whole league because he’s such a gentleman and the way he plays the game is very old school. He’s a laidback character who won’t get in your face, there’s no animation or charade. He constantly analyses the game to work out the opposition and he’s capable of getting that extra 10% out of players at the right time.”