CRICKET: Ryan ready for the challenge

thisisoxfordshire: Luke Ryan (right) is congratulated on becoming Oxfordshire’s new captain by Rupert Evans, the county’s head of cricket Luke Ryan (right) is congratulated on becoming Oxfordshire’s new captain by Rupert Evans, the county’s head of cricket

New Oxfordshire captain Luke Ryan is backing his side to shine in both forms of Minor Counties cricket.

The 24-year-old, whose appointment makes him the county’s youngest skipper, believes Oxon have the potential to better last year’s second-place finish in the Western Division.

“If our availability is good and everyone stays fit, there’s no reason to think we can’t challenge in both one-day and three-day championship cricket,” said Ryan.

“We came close to the championship final last season, but this was spoiled by the bad weather, therefore I see no reason why we can’t go one better next season.”

Left-arm spinner Ryan takes over from wicket-keeper Ian Hawtin, who led Oxon from 2005 to 2012.

“He was my captain at Banbury for five years, and it’s going to be strange not having him there behind the stumps,” he said.

“But I know he will back me and will always be on the end of a phone if I need any help or advice. He always set a good example and was very mild-mannered.

“One thing he did very well was listen to other players and make sure that everyone felt valued. This is something I will look to continue.’’

Ryan added: “I hope that all the players will buy into the ethos of the team. I’ve been playing for Oxfordshire since I was 17, so although I’m only 24, I feel I am already pretty experienced, and can’t wait to get started.”

Rupert Evans, Oxfordshire’s head of cricket, said: “I’ve worked with Luke for eight or nine years, and during this period, he has developed into a very good all-round cricketer.

“He is without doubt one of the best spinners in Minor Counties cricket.

“This is a good appointment, and I’m looking forward to working with him to continue to develop a young county side.

“Luke is Oxfordshire through and through, he’s well-respected within the team and around the county.”

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