An open letter from Dane Vilas
Lancashire Cricket Club captain, Dane Vilas, has written a letter to Members and supporters
I hope you and your families are keeping safe and well during these difficult times.
Firstly, I just wanted to pay tribute to our Chairman, David Hodgkiss OBE. It was terribly sad to hear the news of his passing and I know he will be hugely missed at Emirates Old Trafford and beyond. He was hugely supportive of the players and always welcome in the dressing room. He had time for everyone, whether it was a chat about cricket, or life in general. He was a cricket man to the core and incredibly passionate about the Red Rose. He loved nothing more than celebrating a Lancashire victory. The impact he has had at Emirates Old Trafford, in a number of different roles and over a period of more than 25 years will not be forgotten, and we will continue his legacy.
Before I go on and talk about cricket, which has of course been put into perspective in recent times, I’d also like to say thank you to all the emergency services and key workers who have kept the country going in extremely tough times. They are true heroes and I am in awe of their bravery in fighting coronavirus on the front line. I would also like to mention the magnificent NHS. England is very lucky to have a system like it. Not all countries are quite so fortunate. The praise they are getting will never be enough. The work they do is quite incredible and on behalf of everyone at Lancashire Cricket, thank you.
There is absolutely no doubt that cricket, and sport for that fact, pales into insignificance at a time such as this. It’s been devastating to see so many people affected in the UK, and also back home in South Africa, and it will, of course, have a major effect on people’s mental health and wellbeing. I hope there is positive news soon, and that we do get to play some cricket later this summer.
It’s been about a month-and-a-half since we were told not to come into Emirates Old Trafford and we should be preparing for our fourth County Championship Division One match this weekend but we find ourselves, just like the rest of the country, stuck indoors and filling our days with activities we could never have dreamt of only a few months ago.
As for me, luckily my wife and family are keeping well. We are currently living down in London where my wife works. I’m normally based in the Hilton Garden Inn at Emirates Old Trafford during the season, but I have to say, it has been really nice to spend some quality time with the family. The Club, as it has done for all the Lancashire players, delivered some basic gym equipment which gives me some more physical activity over and above the one outside exercise each day.
Over the last month, all of the players have been given personalised strength and conditioning programmes, to ensure we are staying as fit as possible. We are in contact with the Club’s Sports Science and Medical team, as well as the coaching staff and our Psychologist, Lee Richardson, who is available to speak to as well. As a squad we are all keeping in touch through our WhatsApp groups, as everyone is these days. We’ve also done a couple of quiz nights, as is the course at the moment, which have been good fun, organised by Mark Chilton who loves a good quiz. It’s nice to come together as a team, even if it is over Zoom!
I would urge you all to make sure you keep in touch with your friends and family during these uncertain times. It’s important to stay connected with your loved ones.
We are missing cricket just as much as our Members and supporters are. That isn’t limited to just the playing side of things, we have an extremely tight knit group of players and are all desperately missing the social element of the game. Whether that be enjoying a drink after a days’ play to celebrate team or individual success, or the day-to-day activities during training, we miss being together, and I understand that will be much the same for many of our Members.
The squad have also really impressed me helping out in contacting Members and assisting with other areas of the Club’s day-to-day operations. This is a united approach to tackling the virus from players, backroom staff and all other employees. The players agreed to a 20% pay cut in line with all other members of staff because we are going through this together. The Club’s motto is Red Rose Together and now is the time for us to stand alongside each other to see through these rough times and come through a stronger Club. If there is anything we, as a group of players, or the Club can do to help you during these difficult times, please get in touch.
If you know someone who you think would really appreciate a call from one of the players or coaches, email the Club on email@example.com. We want to help.
I’d like to end with a message for all of our Members and supporters. I’d urge you all to continue to observe the government guidelines. Look after one another, stay safe, stay indoors and we look forward to seeing you back at Emirates Old Trafford when it is safe to do so.