Samuel Gill, the longest-serving cricketer in Iceland, is to take on the captaincy of the Hafnarfjörður Hammers in 2021, immediately after stepping down as Chairman of the Icelandic Cricket Association. He succeeds his long-time friend and team-mate Mohammad Younas.
Hafnarfjörður have had a tough time of things during the last couple of years. Founded in 2018, the team immediately found success under Sadun Lankathilaka, winning the inaugural Summer Solstice Sixes. The following year, however, they lost all of their games and Lankathilaka transferred to Reykjavík at the end of the season. Younas took on the captaincy in 2020, but it was a similarly difficult year, with seven of the team’s nine matches ending in defeat.
“We played good cricket last season, and we lost several games only narrowly, but I feel it’s right for a new captain, and a new coaching structure as well,” said Younas. “I enjoyed my cricket last year as a player, but as a captain it was a little hard. Sammy is a good guy and will be a great captain.”
Gill made his debut for Kylfan (now Reykjavík) during the 2000 season, and continued to play for that team until 2019, when he moved to Kópavogur. He only spent one season there, having been tempted to transfer to Hafnarfjörður when Younas became captain. He has racked up 604 career runs in 41 matches at an average of 22.37, and has made 25 appearances for the national team. He works as a boat captain off the Norwegian coast, and plays cricket in Iceland whenever his shifts allow.
This isn’t Gill’s first captaincy experience. He’s led the Iceland national team twice, by invitation, winning both games. Both were auspicious occasions. The first was at the opening of Víðistaðatún, Iceland’s first cricket ground, in 2019, where he led the Falcons to victory against the British Ambassador’s XI, under the gaze of Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir. The second was the inaugural Samuel Gill Trophy match between the national team and the Íslensk Premier League champions. The trophy was created to celebrate Gill’s twenty years of cricket in Iceland.
“I was surprised and happy to be named captain at the age of 48. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting it,” Gill admitted. He was phlegmatic about the travails of 2020. “I still think we had a very good team, but lack of practice held us back. We also signed many new players, and found it difficult to co-ordinate everyone.” He is confident about the Hammers’ chances this year. “My target is to win three trophies in 2021,” he said. Really? “Well, realistically what we need to do is have regular practices and be more organised. That way we’ll starting winning games.”
The player auction for the 2021 domestic season will be live-blogged on this website from 1400 UTC on Saturday 9 January. Full details of the auction will be published this Friday.
The official Hafnarfjörður captains and their records
2018—2019 S Lankathilaka P8 W4 L4
2020 M Younas P9 W2 L7