Rehan Ahmed’s relaxed and looking forward to the summer

By Sports Desk March 29, 2024

Rehan Ahmed is relaxed about his potential opportunities over the coming months after enjoying every minute of England duty this winter.

Leicestershire leg-spinner Ahmed became the country’s youngest ever men’s Test player in 2022 when he claimed a five-wicket haul on debut against Pakistan in Karachi, but had to wait a further 14 months for another shot at red-ball cricket for England.

The teenager relished the prospect of doing battle with India and picked up 11 wickets across three Tests.

 

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Ahmed, 19, is refreshed and ready to go again but has not set himself any major summer targets despite a T20 World Cup being on the horizon along with home Test series against West Indies and Pakistan.

“I’m not really fussed about what I’m trying to achieve this year,” Ahmed insisted when asked about the prospect of a home Test debut this summer.

“I’ve tried to do as much as I can within myself. So, whether that’s me getting my overs in, me getting as many runs as I can, because I love my batting and I’ve underperformed; I want to bat better.

“There’s a couple of things I really want to work on and if that takes me there, that takes me there.

“And if it doesn’t, and the balance of the teams is not right and whatnot, there are loads of things to take into account.

“I’ll be playing county cricket straight away. Leicester comes first when I’m not playing for England. I didn’t know if I wanted to play because I wanted a break, but I’ve had two weeks off and I just want to play again.”

Ahmed was part of a novice three-man spin-attack alongside Tom Hartley and Shoaib Bashir that flourished at times in India, but there are concerns over the number of overs the trio will get during the opening months of the domestic season.

However, the 19-year-old is not about to make any outlandish demands to his Leicestershire coaches over his bowling or batting role in a team-comes-first mentality that clearly owes much to Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum.

He added: “It’s not a case where I come in and bat where I want.

“Obviously I’ve not been here all winter. The lads have been working hard so they deserve it first, so if I make the team and I play, then hopefully I’ll get a bat.

“Bowling in matches is something I’ve lacked a bit. I’ve bowled a lot in white-ball, not heaps of overs in red-ball plus it’s April, going to be nipping round corners.

“I don’t expect to bowl loads of overs because if the seamers are getting wickets, they are getting wickets and the team comes first, but I’ll be bowling loads in training.”

Ahmed is also sure to be bouncing ideas off new buddy Bashir, who may struggle for overs at Somerset, after the pair struck up a close bond during the India tour.

“Bash was unbelievable to be with.  He made the made the trip so (much) fun for me,” Ahmed revealed.

“And his confidence was different level and that’s something I love to see because that’s exactly like how I was as well, we just kept bouncing off each other. It was great.

“I think the way Bash came into the game. Even with Harts coming in, the way I came in, it gives hope for everyone else as well.

“It doesn’t mean you have to bowl a load of overs in the champo and focus on swing and seam.  You just need to be different and be committed to it.”

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