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13 is proving unlucky for Ijaz Khan and Saltaire
Ijaz Khan’s future as a JCT600 Bradford League cricketer may depend on the outcome of a scan on his right shoulder – but his days as Saltaire’s skipper are numbered.
“I am definitely packing in as skipper at the end of the season,” said the 46-year-old, who is in his 13th year at the helm at Roberts Park.
“It is not mental wear and tear – mentally I still feel like a 19 or a 20-year-old – but this is the worst season I have ever had for injuries, and I am not a spring chicken any more.
“At one time I would back myself against anybody in the gully but now the ball is hitting me, rather than me stopping it.”
Khan’s proudest achievement during his tenure as captain has been keeping Saltaire in the top-flight.
“We have managed that for ten years while I have been in charge,” said Khan, and it is therefore ironic that in his final campaign they are heading towards relegation.
Khan said: “We will try and win all four games but realistically we are preparing for life in Division Two.
“It is not the be all and end all. No-one has died and we have bounced back at the first time of asking before, and I hope we do it next year.
“But I have enjoyed every minute at Saltaire and as a club with what I believe is the smallest budget in the division, we are delighted that we have stayed up so often.
“We are also proud that we have developed cricketers, such as Tim Lindley and Imran Arif, who have gone on to play county cricket.
“Others have gone to clubs in the Bradford League when they have waved a cheque book - but that is life.
“We will always give players opportunities, and we have done so this year to two 15-year-olds in Danish Hussain and Abbas Ahmed.”
Khan added: “The biggest change at Saltaire has been the facilities. We usaed to change upstairs in the old pavilion with one shower that dribbled. Now we have excellent changing rooms and the Half Moon Cafe.”
On Saturday, Saltaire have the chance to claw back some ground.
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