Qayyum excited by Pakistan tour match

Monday 4th December 2017

Qayyum excited by Pakistan tour match

Imran Qayyum is expecting divided loyalties in his family when Pakistan visit The Spitfire Ground in April 2018.

Kent will play the ICC Champions Trophy holders in Canterbury for the eleventh time in the club’s history.

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The Kent spinner said: “It would be a dream come true to play against Pakistan. My Mum, Dad and brother were all born there and support Pakistan.

“It’s always a close battle between supporting England and Pakistan. My family are very patriotic so it will be difficult for them supporting me instead of Pakistan if selected.

“Azhar Ali and Babar Azam have been in great batting form and we know how good Yasir Shah can be from his Test performances here on the last tour and his time at Kent.

“They could have Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz in their pace attack – top quality bowlers who know English conditions as well as Sarfraz Ahmed who played for Yorkshire last year.

“I grew up following Pakistan cricket and it was surreal to play against Shahid Afridi this year as he is my all-time favourite cricketer and probably my favourite sportsman.”

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Qayyum spent several weeks of winter training in Pakistan in 2015 and worked with several internationals there.

“The whole country lives and breathes cricket 24/7. Kids play on the streets and on any corner they can find.

“Hockey is meant to be the national sport but Pakistanis love cricket. The atmosphere there when they beat India in the Champions Trophy final was fantastic.

“Back in Southall where I grew up, there are big Indian and Pakistani communities and the roads were packed with people celebrating when India won the World T20 and it was similar when Pakistan won the Champions Trophy.”

The left-armer paid tribute to the role of second XI coach and former Kent and England spinner Min Patel in his ascent into the first team.

Kent’s number 11 said: “It’s great to have a coach who bowled left-arm spin as he has so much experience and knowledge from his long career in the game.

“He’s a great thinker so he has helped me massively with the mental and tactical side of my game.

“Most of the physical and technical aspects are well-drilled and the tactical things are much more important, particularly in the shorter forms.”

After making his debut against fellow left-arm spinner Monty Panesar at Northampton in the Championship,

Qayyum held down a place in the T20 team with some impressive performances although he admits it is a very different challenge.

“My instinct is to be attacking and take wickets which is often my role in red-ball cricket but white-ball cricket is a big challenge for spinners.

“Batting has moved on with players able to score 360 degrees around the game with bigger bats, smaller boundaries and flat pitches.

“Bowlers are trying to catch up with variations and field settings to try and save runs.”

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Aside from countless overs bowling in the nets, Qayyum is working hard on the other aspects of his game.

He took several steeping catches, particularly two difficult chances under the low floodlights in the T20 win at Chelmsford.

“When I came to the club, I was a relatively weak fielder and now my target is to be one of the best in the team and the standard seems to go up every year.

“Year-after-year I keep improving as it’s important as a good catch and ground fielding can decide a game.”

“I’m working hard on my batting too so I can help the side if I’m needed.”

He has also benefitted from the influence of fellow spinner James Tredwell in his development.

“I believe the mental approach is key for spin bowling and we bounce ideas off each other.

“James is a calm character and he helped me a lot during the T20s in terms of my approach and mindset.

“We’re often competing for a spot in the side but we work together for the good of the side.”

Match tickets go on sale for all Kent home matches, including the Pakistan tour match and England Women’s ODI on 2 January 2018. 

Advance prices start at £15 for adults and £1 for under 16s.

Click here for 2018 Memberships which include entry to all four days of the tour match