Hornchurch's Monty up for the challenge of facing Essex star Zaidi
PUBLISHED: 17:00 22 June 2018
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After an excellent win at Chelmsford last weekend, spirits are high for Billy Gordon's team ahead of Saturday's game against Ilford
Hornchurch spin bowler Monty Panesar is excited to do battle with Ilford all-rounder Ashar Zaidi in the Shepherd Neame Essex League Premier Division this weekend.
The pair will be the star names on show at Harrow Lodge Park on Saturday when the two local clubs go head-to-head.
Panesar previously played for Essex and is looking forward to taking on Zaidi, who currently turns out for the 2017 County Championship Division One winners alongside Ilford.
Both have enjoyed impressive starts to the campaign and the winner of Saturday’s game could be decided by whichever talented cricketer performs best.
“I have played against Zaidi before. He is a good player and very resourceful because he can take wickets and bats well too,” said Panesar.
“He is very good at the one-day cricket especially, so it will be a nice challenge to go up against him and Ilford.”
While Panesar has not needed long to become a firm favourite at Hornchurch, he is well aware the young, improving team are not the finished article just yet.
The last time Billy Gordon’s men played at their Harrow Lodge Park home they lost out to Brentwood on June 2 after being dismissed for 62 and the former England Test spinner is keen to put it right.
“We are still a team who are improving and when we played Brentwood recently we did well in the field, but the batting let us down,” added Panesar.
“Against the top teams we need to have a complete display and Saturday will be hard, but the side is doing well.
“If we keep performing and getting totals on the board, then hopefully we can get another victory this weekend.”
Hornchurch produced a fine showing at Premier Division champions Chelmsford last time out to earn a 75-run win.
Overseas star Muhammad Irfan smashed 48 off just 21 balls after earlier contributions by Michael Bones (40), Roy Smith (43) and Chris Sains (40).
It enabled Gordon’s side to get up to 247-7 from 50 overs and the captain led from the front in the field with 3-36 at the start to put Chelmsford on the back foot.
Mehad Khan backed him up with 5-42 while Panesar chipped in with 2-19 as the hosts were all out for 172.
It was the first of nine games in the 50-over format and saw the sides wear coloured kits and use a pink ball.
Gordon said: “It was good fun for us and I think it is better for spectators as well. People want to see something different.
“I think it is nice to see coloured kits rather than just the old-fashioned whites and we all enjoyed it.
“The pink balls were fine. They go off the bat hard early on and then they go soft, but it was good. We were happy with it.”
Hornchurch will look to earn more success in the change of format on Saturday and send a statement to the rest of the league with a win over Ilford.