Yorkshire Under 15s batting star Shahzaib Sayeed has admitted his delight at becoming the first beneficiary of the county’s link-up with Lahore Qalandars, training in Pakistan over the last fortnight.
Sayeed, a product of Mount CC, now plays for New Rover in Leeds and dreams of becoming a professional player in the future.
“I want to score plenty of runs for Yorkshire,” said the left-hander who made a Roses half-century on county debut for the Under 13s side.
The 15-year-old combined a family trip to Lahore with a handful of training sessions at the Qalandars’ High Performance Centre.
“I had five sessions with them, and it was a really good experience,” he said. “My game and my confidence has risen because of it.
“The facilities were beautiful, and all the coaches there and students were really helpful.”
Sayeed was given leave of absence from school to travel out to Lahore to see his sick mother and, thanks to help from Lord Patel and Qalandars’ chief operating officer Sameen Rana, was able to include some cricket into his trip.
“We have supported the Qalandars since the Pakistan Super League started,” revealed the Thornhill Community Academy student – a prefect and potential head boy.
“Our family links are to Lahore, and they are our side. We love to follow them.
“Unfortunately we didn’t have the time to go to a PSL game, as I wanted to spend time with my mum. But hopefully I can get to one in the future.”
In a social media video filmed by the Qalandars, Sayeed spoke about how he has refined his grip and stance at the crease and worked hard on improving his cut shot.
He went on to tell yorkshireccc.com: “I felt really comfortable with the changes they have helped me make.
“The bowlers there were bowling around 140kmph and were bowling as fast as they could.
“With my old technique, I might have got hit or been late on the ball. But I was able to get to the ball much faster and was able to play with soft hands.
“The bowlers, the students of the Academy, were open age. Some were my age, but others were 20 or even 26 and 27.
“It’s given me a lot of confidence ahead of this season.
“Hopefully I can score a lot of runs and keep going because cricket’s my passion. I want to be a professional.”
Sayeed counts Joe Root and Ben Stokes as his cricketing heroes and hopes to get down to Headingley this summer to see Lahore speedster Haris Rauf play in a Yorkshire shirt.
“I’m really thankful to Yorkshire for giving me this opportunity,” he added. “The coaches at Yorkshire have been wonderful with me.
“Hopefully I get another chance to go over to the Qalandars in the future.”
Sayeed’s father Mohammed, who says his son “lives and breathes cricket”, also echoed those thanks to the county.
“It was fantastic,” he added, having landed back in the UK on Wednesday.
“The people at the Qalandars were brilliant, and the coaching was really beneficial for Shahzaib.
“I would very much recommend any other boys and girls to go and visit if they get the chance because the experience they will get is first-class.
“Yorkshire are a wonderful county, and what they do for the kids is unbelievable. But it was really good for Shahzaib to go over to the Qalandars and get a different perspective on his game for a couple of weeks.”