Neil Russell is new Instonians captain
Neil Russell has been handed the captaincy at joint Ulster Bank Premier League champions Instonians less than six months after returning to Shaw's Bridge.
Russell moved back to his first club from North Down last May after losing his place at the top of the order with the Comber giants, but he scored almost 500 runs for Instonians, with three half centuries, as they shared the league title with Waringstown.
Russell takes over the captaincy from Eugene Moleon who, immediately after the last game of the season, announced not only that he was stepping down as Instonians skipper but also quitting as a player.
Since then John Stevenson, the unsung veteran opening batsman, has also retired but Instonians have moved quickly to secure a new overseas professional for next year.
Imad Wasim (24), a former Pakistan Under-19 captain, is a top order batsman and slow left arm bowler who Russell expects to make an immediate impact.
"He brings a lot to the table. Imad is a young guy but he's a leader and he loves coaching," said Russell.
"He's an ECB Level Two coach and has aspirations to become a full time coach when he finishes his playing career.
"His playing ability is excellent – he's a number five batsman in first class cricket and averages in the late 30s.
"I have spoken to him at length on the phone and his spoken English is impeccable, and this will obviously help massively on the coaching front.
"He will have a remit for working closely with the talented cricketers coming through at RBAI, and he is genuinely looking forward to working with all the schoolboys.
"Imad was born in the UK but moved to Pakistan at a very young age. He ticks all our boxes for both on and off the field commitments," said Russell, who will have Andrew White as his vice-captain.