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Monday, March 20, 2023

Rehan Ahmed interview: ‘What I learnt with England? Tests are best’

Ahmed says he wants to bowl more like Rashid, but the senior man “tells me I’m my own bowler and to focus on what I do well”. So Ahmed’s mantra is simple: “Whether it’s a red ball or a white ball, I just want to keep the stumps in play, so I just need to do half a thing right and the batsman does half a thing wrong.”

What comes next after a winter as extraordinary as this? Ahmed has a meeting this week to map out his summer, but it will start in the County Championship, which can be unforgiving for a young spinner in early season. He promises, though, that will not affect his outlook. This winter, he says, has made him “take back a more positive attitude to everything”, and he is always keen to remind people that he is not just a bowler. “I enjoy my batting so much more than my bowling,” he smiles; he did make a century in his last Championship appearance, after all.

Ahmed wants a balanced diet of cricket this summer. He wants to play for Leicestershire, Southern Brave in the Hundred, and also for his club, Cavaliers and Carrington, in the Nottinghamshire Premier League, alongside his brothers, seamer Raheem, a 19-year-old who has played for Leicestershire Seconds, and spinner Farhan, who, at 15, is considered the next big thing at Trent Bridge.

The trio have been in touch plenty this winter. “Brothers obviously are brothers,” he smiles. “I got a wicket off a short one [in Bangladesh] and my older brother said: ‘I didn’t know it was that easy to get wickets in international cricket.’”

Ahmed seems at peace with the fact that he might have to wait some time for his next international action.

“I still dream of it [playing in the Ashes or World Cup this year],” he says. “But at the same time I take each day as it comes. If I play, I play. If not, then I don’t. The thing is with England, if I don’t play I love watching it. So when I was 12th man in Pakistan, it wasn’t just me being 12th man. It was me actually watching England cricket live and it was like the best day of my life.”

He is at peace, too, with the idea that all his records this winter will be broken at some stage.

“It’s a huge achievement playing at such a young age but I’m sure there’ll be someone even younger than me that’s coming through that’s even better than me,” he says.

What if that happens to be his brother, Farhan? “Oh no, not him!”

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