Skipper Lewis looks to the future

There will be a fresh face running the Hertfordshire cricket team this summer. Andy Lewis (shown left), the 29-year-old North Mymms opening batsman and former captain, has succeeded the former Surrey batsman David Ward. Wardie was absolutely brilliant wi

There will be a fresh face running the Hertfordshire cricket team this summer.

Andy Lewis (shown left), the 29-year-old North Mymms opening batsman and former captain, has succeeded the former Surrey batsman David Ward.

"Wardie was absolutely brilliant with developing and bringing on the young players but after three years we felt it was time to bring forward one of our home-grown players," said the Herts chairman Alistair Buchanan.

And they do not come much more home-grown than Lewis, who grew up playing as a colt at Mymms, where his father was captain for two years, and who started out as the first-team scorer.

He has also just finished a four-year stint as captain at Mymms.

"It is a huge honour to be elected as a home-grown captain, the biggest achievement in my career," said Lewis.

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Andy, who lives near Datchworth and is currently on honeymoon in Australia, is keen to strengthen the links between the county team and the 100-plus clubs in the county's league structure.

"I see all the players I am playing against week in, week out as potential squad members," he continued.

"There are hundreds of people who play and watch weekend cricket throughout the Hertfordshire clubs and it would be great if the county team could tap into some of this love of the game by being a side that people want to come and watch.

"To see the most talented players in the county playing as a unit and really competing in the Minor Counties Championship could be exciting."

Herts' record in the championship last year - played six, won one, lost five, and a final league position of eighth of nine teams in the Eastern Division - leaves plenty of room for improvement.

"In the short term, I am looking to get availability better.

"I want commitment from players that they are striving to play at the best possible level.

"Longer term, I am looking to build a side who compete in both the three-day and one-day games and who have a reputation as being a professional outfit with a good balance of experience and youth, and of being committed and hard to beat."

Herts have signed a second professional for the summer to join Ward, whose massive hitting in the middle-order will continue to be a major part of the team.

Aaron Laraman, the former Somerset and Middlesex all-rounder, and a level three ECB coach who is joining Welwyn Garden City, met the players for the first time at last week's annual meeting.

Herts will be playing more games this summer, with the one-day competition having a group stage, starting with an away game against Cambs on April 30.

There will be Sunday home games against Wiltshire on May 7 at Radlett, Beds on May 30 at Hertford and Bucks on June 4 at North Mymms.

Then Herts will be defending their Twenty20 title against Bucks, Beds and Oxfordshire at Burnham on June 18, as well as playing six three-day championship games.

"The new one-day format gives us more chance of progressing this year and I hope we will get some good early season support," added Lewis.

That may be a couple of months away but the squad will soon be working together in the indoor nets at Hatfield.

For Lewis, the summer simply cannot come soon enough. "I am really, really excited," he said.

All he needs now is to bring the sun back with him from Australia!