Mark Landau believes that MAL will be able to mix it with the best when they make their Middlesex Sunday League Division One debut against North London Muslims on April 29 followed by a mouth-watering clash against London Maccabi Vale 1st next month.
The MAL vice-captain, who will complete his pre-season training by taking part at the London Marathon, believes the team is well-equipped to maintain the momentum of the last few years.
"After four enormously successful seasons in succession, MAL will be presented with an extremely tough test in 2012, following promotion to the top division of the Middlesex Sunday Cricket League,” Landau said.
It promises to be a busy year for Landau — last season’s JC player of the year — who will combine his duties at MAL with coaching duties at London Maccabi Vale colts section, as well as the Team GB Junior Maccabiah squad.
He said: “Retaining Division One status is a tricky goal, but an attainable one if we play to our ability.
With the 2nd XI having played seven games in 2011, the aim will be to match, if not exceed that number in 2012.”
Much will be expected of MAL’s most productive players. Landau had a stand out year with bat and ball in 2011. He bludgeoned 992 runs at an average of 55.11 and chipped in with 16 wickets at an average of 15.13.
Yoav Lebens will also be looking to catch the eye. He smashed 532 runs at an average of 40.92 and claimed 22 wickets at 22.14 last season.
Landau said: “And if Russell Corin and Grant Traub are available regularly, the spine of the team will be very strong."
MAL have lost the services of Grant Pakter and Yoni Schurder, while fast bowler Oscar Brodkin looks set to miss the opening weeks through injury.
Nets have been taking place since early February and have been well attended, with plenty of younger players keen to push their case.
There are also plans afoot for a midseason tour over the Jubilee Bank Holiday.
Captain: Gav Lebens, Vice-captain: Mark Landau
Players out: Grant Pakter, Yoni Schurder
Competition entered: Middlesex Sunday Cricket League Division One
Ones to watch: Mark Landau, Yoav Lebens