Ajmal Shahzad has been rewarded for an excellent 2009 domestic season and his hard work on the England Performance Programme with a call up to the full England One-Day and Test squads that will tour the UAE and Bangladesh in February and March. Tim Bresnan retains his place in England ’s one-day touring party.
Shahzad, a 24-year-old Huddersfield born all-rounder, made his Yorkshire debut in 2004, but seemed to suffer niggling injuries each time he threatened to secure a 1st Team place. On 23 May 2004 he made history by becoming the first Yorkshire born Asian to represent the White Rose County, but it was 2009 when he showed Yorkshire’s members and supporters what he could do – a season which culminated in him receiving the Players’ Player of the Year Award. This winter he could well do the double and become the first Yorkshire-born Asian to play Test cricket for England.
Ajmal Shahzad, said: “It’s been a hard couple of years, just trying to get recognised, trying to get to the stage where I’m being selected for the England Lions team, the academy to South Africa, and just working hard there and getting the recognition to be selected. I had no idea I was going to be in the squad. I was disappointed, to say the least, that I wasn’t selected in the England Lions squad that got announced. I got a few phone calls saying ‘how come I hadn’t been involved or added to the squad?’, but I had no answer to them. I gave Dave Parsons a ring and he said ‘look, you just need to hang fire for a little while – I can’t tell you the information. I can’t give you the reason why, but Geoff Miller will give you a ring soon and you’ll know about it then’. I just let it lie then and going back to Yorkshire and everyone was asking me ‘how come you didn’t get selected?’, I didn’t have an answer. I just said ‘I’ve got to wait and find out why I haven’t been selected.’ It was a massive relief and I’m just delighted to be selected.”
National Selector Geoff Miller said: “We are delighted to welcome Ajmal Shahzad to both squads for the first time. He enjoyed an excellent season with Yorkshire last year, made a strong impression while he was in South Africa with the EPP squad and is a bowler with the potential to make a real impact in international cricket.”<
The squad, which departs 13 February, will be led by Alastair Cook as Andrew Strauss rests from the tour. Paul Collingwood will lead the side in the two T20 Internationals against Pakistan in UAE which precede the tour of Bangladesh. James Anderson is also rested. Ajmal Shahzad is joined by another uncapped player, the Kent off-spinner James Tredwell, in both squads while another uncapped player, Hampshire batsman Michael Carberry, has been included in the Test squad.
One Day squad:Alastair Cook (capt) (Essex), Tim Bresnan (Yorkshire), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Paul Collingwood (Durham), Joe Denly (Kent), Eoin Morgan (Middlesex), Matthew Prior (Sussex), Kevin Pietersen (Hampshire), Liam Plunkett (Durham), Ryan Sidebottom (Nottinghamshire), Ajmal Shahzad (Yorkshire), Graeme Swann (Nottinghamshire), James Tredwell (Kent), Jonathan Trott (Warwickshire) and Luke Wright (Sussex).
Test squad: Alastair Cook (captain) (Essex), Ian Bell (Warwickshire), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Michael Carberry (Hampshire), Paul Collingwood (Durham), Steven Davies (Surrey), Graham Onions (Durham), Kevin Pietersen (Hampshire), Liam Plunkett (Durham), Matthew Prior (Sussex), Ajmal Shahzad (Yorkshire), Ryan Sidebottom (Nottinghamshire), Graeme Swann (Nottinghamshire), James Tredwell (Kent), Jonathan Trott (Warwickshire) and Luke Wright (Sussex).