After coming within three runs of beating Waringstown last weekend, Muckamore captain Neil Gill has hailed the impact made by coach Bobby Rao at Moylena.
The 64-year-old has brought a wealth of experience to the Antrim-based club having played four Tests for India between 1978-1979 and competed in over 100 First Class matches throughout his career.
He also played six times for Ireland before retiring in 2012, and Gill says Rao has been a brilliant addition.
“Bobby has been like another couple of signings,” he said ahead of Saturday’s Robinson Services Premier League trip to Lisburn.
“Every night he will find something that the guys can work on. He’s coached Ireland and has his own academy in Hyderabad so has a lot of experience. That was a massive coup for us.
“We are hoping it isn’t just a one-year thing. He is bringing all of our guys on and it’s been fantastic to get him on board. We are trying to be a lot more professional in the way we are doing things, so it’s all positive.”
A star performer in that narrow defeat to All-Ireland champions Waringstown was Marcus O’Riordan, who scored 63 and recorded figures of 1-32 from his 10 overs.
The 21-year-old is a product of Kent’s Academy and Gill is excited to see what O’Riordan can achieve this season.
“He’s a real quality young cricketer,” he added.
“He’s a tidy off-spinner and is technically correct with the bat. He’s the type of boy that gets to fifty before you even realise because he’s running twos and running quickly.
“He isn’t the type to bang it out of the ground, but he’s a hockey player as well so is very good at sweeps too. He’s a cracking cricketer and a very good talent.”
Gill also added Steve Lazars, Jamie Rogers and Karthik Rajevelu to his squad for the 2019 campaign and is delighted with the dynamic of the team ahead of a busy weekend that also sees them host defending champions CIYMS on Sunday.
“There are a lot of good signs,” he said.
“We have a really good spin attack this year which is crucial in the NCU because a lot of guys struggle against spin and like the ball coming on.
“ If Pavan (Karthik) and I can click in the first few overs and maybe get a wicket or two and then bring on the spinners, that’ll be good.
“We are strong batting wise as well.
“ We have guys that are able to hit it and guys who can knock it about. I
“n years gone by, we have carried two or three guys in the field, but this year we are a young team and we aren’t carrying anyone in the field.
“We have all bases covered and are happy with the squad we have.”