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Q&A: New club captain Devraj Ray: 'the league title is the only goal'

Q&A: New club captain Devraj Ray: 'the league title is the only goal'

David Hickey8 May - 16:03
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Our 1st XI skipper sets out his stall ahead of the new season

'Mill Hill Village is a big family that has been an oasis for me during tough times, and given me a hell of a lot of laughs. Always.'
- MHVCC club captain Devraj Ray

What are your hopes for the new season?
A league title is realistically the only goal. That's not to be presumptuous or cocky, we've just put in a lot of work over winter and there is a new level of focus and commitment in the team which, combined with the talent in the squad, should be progressing from this division immediately. If we don't, it's entirely on us. Further, we want to create a more professional culture, especially around the 1st XI. Small changes, like ensuring we all turn up to matches in club gear, all playing in proper club whites, fines for not training in the week, etc. It's all finetuning, but so crucial if we're going to take the club back up to the level it should be at.

What makes you the best person to be club captain?
I don't know about best, but I think I've always brought a level of enthusiasm and energy to the team, which struck me as being a big part of what we needed. From personal experience, I was appointed captain of the 2nd XI at my previous club in Surrey in very similar circumstances, and we won three consecutive league titles. I fully envision the same kind of impact this time around. Not because of me, just because of what renewed energy can do to any team.

You haven’t played for a while. Why was now the right time to come back?
Personal circumstances kept me away for a couple of years. I got married in May 2022 and my father passed away a couple of weeks before that. I probably wasn't in the best mental space to offer much in the team that summer or last, but the support and friendship I received from the club and my teammates is a big part of why I know this project will work and why I feel now is the time to get the best out of everyone, especially myself.

What does MHVCC mean to you personally?
I first came to the club in 2000 but returned properly in 2017 and it was like never being away. It's a big family that has been an oasis during tough times, and given me a hell of a lot of laughs. Always. The club has relied on the massive efforts of a small group of volunteers for too long: the likes of Director of Cricket Phil Smith, Finance Director James Thompson, Amenities Director Pete Jaffe, and others, have kept everything going on their shoulders. We want to start taking over some of that burden and become the new guardians of the club for the next stage in its progression. I think that shows what the club means to myself and my teammates. Volunteers, new players and new juniors are all welcome and actively encouraged at Mill Hill Village. Anyone wanting to get involved, if only for an hour a week, can contact me or email the club via

Tell us all about your long association with the club? When did it start and how/why?
My cousin Saahil has played for the Village since he was a kid, for some 20-plus years. I came down to see him play and played most of the 2000 season myself, joining from Finchley Cricket Club, where I played Colts. My brother played as well that season, as we lived next to the Adam & Eve pub on the Ridgeway at the top of Burtonhole Lane, where we play. I moved to South London in 2001, so played in the Surrey championship for many years, before coming back in 2017.

What is the most important issue presently facing MHVCC? How will the club tackle it?
It would be nice to get all four Saturday adult XIs operating a bit more collaboratively. There's a bit of a separation at times, and players wanting more to play with their mates, as opposed to wanting to play at the highest level they can. I get that, but that's a culture thing. If we all do more together, i.e. training, socials, supporting each other's sides, you start to break down those barriers and then you get friendly competitiveness building, and then the club is operating efficiently, from a cricketing perspective.

Mill Hill Village Cricket Club 1st XI begin their 2024 campaign in Division 5A at home against Southgate Adelaide 1st XI CC on Saturday, May 11.

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