x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Shahzad will not forget his England debut in a hurry

Despite bearing the brunt of the violent late-innings assault of Abdul Razzaq and grassing a chance to dismiss Fawad Alam, Ajmal Shahzad still, just about, emerged from his international debut in credit.

DUBAI // Despite bearing the brunt of the violent late-innings assault of Abdul Razzaq and grassing a chance to dismiss Fawad Alam, Ajmal Shahzad still, just about, emerged from his international debut in credit on Saturday night. The fact he earned his chance, following a thigh injury to Ryan Sidebottom, against his father's homeland was a happy coincidence. Growing up in Bradford, Shahzad initially supported Pakistan as a schoolboy. He switched allegiances once Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram, his heroes, had vacated the stage, and Darren Gough, his fellow Yorkshireman, had risen to prominence with England.

Shahzad's introduction to the international stage was a frenetic one. Imran Nazir smashed him straight back over his head off the first ball he sent down, but Shahzad avenged that by dismissing him and his opening partner, Imran Farhat, by the end of the over. He ended with two for 38 from his four overs and, even though Razzaq took him for two sixes from his last four balls to seal Pakistan's four-wicket win and he dropped the left-handed Alam off the unimpressed Stuart Broad at short third-man at a crucial stage, his captain was pleased. "He has come in to play against the world's best Twenty20 side, and it is not easy when you are playing against batsmen like that," said Collingwood. "We have all seen that he certainly has the talent, he certainly has the pace, and the aggression as well to go with it. That is a good combination. He will learn all the time, and I am sure he has learned a hell of a lot from his experience." pradley@thenational.ae