Jafer Chohan, Yorkshire’s new rookie leg-spinner, says he is determined to make his mark in all formats of the game despite admitting his strength currently lies more with the white ball than red.
Chohan, 20, recently joined the county on a one-year deal after impressing players and coaches alike in various settings, including Joe Root at a net session in Loughborough.
The former Middlesex Academy twirler turned heads whilst playing for both the South Asian Cricket Academy and Berkshire last summer, and he becomes the fifth rookie player at Headingley alongside Fin Bean, Ben Cliff, Will Luxton and Yash Vagadia.
“White ball is definitely my strength,” said the Londoner. “So I see myself getting more opportunities for that. But if I could really make a case for myself in the red ball stuff and debut in all three formats this summer, that’s my biggest goal.
“I don’t want to be seen as a spinner who is one dimensional and just bowls in white ball cricket. I really have wider aspirations than that and am very hungry.”
The second-year Loughborough Uni student is currently splitting his time training and studying International Relations.
In terms of his bowling style, he has given Yorkshire supporters a glimpse of what they can expect from him.
“I’m not the traditional style leg-spinner, a Shane Warne type,” he continued. “I’d say I based a lot of my bowling when I was young off Shahid Afridi.
“I’ve always had a long run-up and bowl with quite a high arm.
“I’ve been compared more to the likes of Afridi and Anil Kumble even though I’m not the same height as them. It’s that quicker style with a high arm. It’s perhaps a bit more of a modern style of leg-spinner.”
Chohan went on: “It’s been a goal of mine for a long time to be signed by a county. So to be signed by one of the best – the one with the most history, prestige and England players at the moment – is amazing. I couldn’t ask to be anywhere better.
“To have the likes of Ottis Gibson and Kabir Ali as coaches will be brilliant for me as a developing bowler.
“I grew up at Middlesex and played there from Under 9s for nine years. I’ve also trialled at Kent and trained at Northants with their Under 17s.
“Then Covid hit and I was training in parks wherever I could and playing club cricket.
“I got to Loughborough last year and also started playing National Counties with Berkshire. That was great for me because it’s a big stride to closing the gap between club and county cricket as I was able to play all three formats.
“From there, getting an opportunity with SACA was ideal for me because I felt I was in good form but couldn’t get any second-team cricket anywhere.
“With SACA, I had the chance to play against second teams and see where my game was at. I’ve not played any second-team cricket for a county, which I’m really looking forward to.”
Chohan will travel to Cape Town on Yorkshire’s pre-season tour next month. From there, he is expecting to start the new summer in the county’s second team.
“With the fact I’ve not played any second-team cricket and with Yorkshire having spinners like Dom Bess, Jack Shutt and Adil Rashid, who are very experienced across the formats, I’m going to have to start in the seconds and make a case for myself,” he said.
Chohan’s deal at Yorkshire was sparked after impressing Root at an England net session late last year when he dismissed him and Ben Duckett.
He has also spent time at Adil Rashid’s own cricket centre.
“As well as the coaches at Yorkshire, having Adil around will be brilliant,” said Chohan. “You can’t get much better than learning from him.
“I’ve met Adil a couple of times at his cricket centre. That’s been brilliant to pick up a few bits of advice. I’ve also been up there training with Adil’s brother, which has been great.
“I haven’t spoken to Joe since I signed, but I’m looking forward to that. For him to even speak to me at that net session, let alone recommend me to Yorkshire, was massive because I’m a bit of a fanboy.
“It happened very quickly. To be asked for a trial was great, and I thought best case scenario would be, ‘I’ll get some training in the winter and get offered something if I do well in a few second-team games’.
“I was definitely not expecting to be signed at this point.
“To have access to top quality players and to be able to train at Headingley has been amazing.”
During the early stages of his Yorkshire career, Chohan has chatted to and picked the brains of off-spinner Dom Bess and has bowled to another England player, Harry Brook – an experience he believes will be vital to his development.
He added: “I’ve bowled to Harry indoor a few times, and I would say it has been the hardest challenge I’ve ever had with the ball. I tried absolutely everything I could and got smashed.
“But bowling to guys like him indoors is going to be as tough as it gets, so it will leave me in a great place going into the season.”