Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Ajmal Shahzad primed up for Test debut

It will be a quick rise for the fast-bowler, 24, who is in contention to get the nod against Bangladesh on Friday and was supposed to be working in medicine.

MANCHESTER, England // Ajmal Shazhad was never meant to be a cricketer. The fast-bowler, 24, who is in contention to make his Test debut for England against Bangladesh on Friday was supposed to be working in medicine. His career is not one based on hours of practice on the playing fields of his hometown of Huddersfield, instead when his friends were outside playing he was swotting up on his homework. "Education was the route for me, I was a smart lad - still am, I hope," he said. "I went to the University of Bradford and studied pharmacology, but I was travelling from Leeds and my cricket was in the way. "I didn't know how to balance the two, I then went to Leeds University to do sport performance coaching - I wanted something to fall back on in sport" Despite the sacrifices his father Mohammed, an accountant, made to put his son through private school he gave his blessing to Ajmal's decision to turn his back on academia during the third year of the course to focus on cricket. "He can come and sleep in the stands while I'm playing," joked Shazhad. "And hopefully I can now give him something back by playing for England. "I owe my dad massively, he put a lot of hard graft in." Shazhad was 12th man for England at Lord's last week, and he would be hoping to step up as Tim Bresnan has suffered a stress fracture to his left foot. That is not assured, with the more experienced Ryan Sidebottom added to the squad. Shazhad has played just 26 first-class games for Yorkshire in county cricket, but has taken 67 wickets in that time. It would be an impressive rise if he takes the field against Bangladesh. "I am ready to go if the nod is given and I'm looking forward to it," he said. "I know what I need to do and if it's not out there on Friday then I'll go back to Yorkshire. When my time comes I am confident I can grasp it and put a good performance in." He would hold no grudges if Sidebottom is picked instead and his role this weekend is limited to carrying the drinks again. "He is a very experienced bowler, he's tried and tested and if they want that they know what they are going to get," he said. "I am a fresh face. I can only put in the performances in the nets and wait and see what happens." lthornhill@thenational.ae

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Mitchell Johnson of Kings XI Punjab bowling in the IPL match against Rajasthan Royals at Sharjah Cricket Stadium in Sharjah on Sunday. Pawan Singh / The National / April 20, 2014

IPL Day 5 action in Sharjah

Images from the fifth day of the Indian Premier League in the UAE on Sunday, with Kings XI Punjab beating Rajasthan Royals by seven wickets with eight balls remaining.

 Raheem Sterling of Liverpool scores the opening goal against Norwich City on Sunday at Carrow Road. Michael Regan / Getty Images / April 20, 2014

In pictures: Sterling, Suarez inch Liverpool closer to title

Raheem Sterling, with a double, and Luis Suarez accounted for all three goals in Liverpool’s 3-2 away win over Norwich City on Sunday, leaving them five points up on Chelsea with three left to play.

 Manager Matt Williams benching star Bryce Harper, above, may have sent the wrong message to the rest of the Washington Nationals. Mike Ehrmann / AFP

Benching Harper sends Williams’s right message the wrong way

Matt Williams, the Washington Nationals manager, made the biggest move of his 18-game tenure on Saturday, benching rising star Bryce Harper for his “lack of hustle”.

 Arsenal's Lukas Podolski celebrates his second goal during the Premier League match against Hull City at The KC Stadium in Hull, England, on April 20, 2014. Lynne Cameron / AP Photo

Arsenal maintain push for top-four finish with victory at Hull

Hull could end up in Europe regardless of the FA Cup final result if Arsenal finish in the Uefa Champions League places

 Ashish Nehra of Chennai Super Kings bowls to Kings XI Punjab at Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National

Hard-hitting Chennai not deterred by opening loss in IPL

But some questions remain about the team's attack ahead of Monday's match against Delhi Daredevils in Abu Dhabi, writes Osman Samiuddin.

 Stanislas Wawrinka turned away fellow Swiss Roger Federer with a 4-6, 7-6, 6-2 victory at the Monte Carlo Masters on April 20, 2014. Julian Finney / Getty Images

Wawrinka backhands Federer aside at Monte Carlo Masters

Stanislas Wawrinka won the Monte Carlo Masters for the first time after rallying to beat Roger Federer 4-6, 7-6, 6-2 in a rare all-Swiss final.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National