If England needed to place a optimistic spin on a visit to Bangladesh that ended with a T20 sequence whitewash they might discover it within the integration of a optimistic spinner. To observe Rehan Ahmed is to see a younger cricketer apparently with out concern. Parachuted right into a squad filled with World Cup winners, in tough situations and unfamiliar environment, the 18-year-old demanded the ball when within the subject and the strike whereas on the crease.
“I believe that comes fairly pure for me,” he says. “After I was enjoying in golf equipment the place there are such a lot of correct first-class bowlers and I used to be solely 13 or 14 and I wasn’t getting overs, I simply saved asking the captain: ‘Give me overs, give me overs.’ That’s simply one thing I’ve grown up with.
“I’ve all the time stated that I’ve received right here as a result of I’ve labored for it. Concurrently I’ve been starstruck by batting with somebody, bowling at somebody within the nets, or stood close to somebody within the subject, I’ve nonetheless tried to do my job. I’ve felt fairly snug on this atmosphere and that’s due to the lads and the coaches who’ve welcomed me in and never allowed me to really feel like a stranger. They’ve not made me really feel like I must show myself, however to calm down and revel in it.”
Within the house of three months Ahmed has made worldwide debuts in all three codecs, in every of them changing into the youngest Englishman to take action. He has taken wickets in all of them, and struggled with nerves solely within the first. “The one factor, not that I used to be petrified of however I knew I’d be nervous about, was Take a look at cricket – and I used to be,” he says of that match towards Pakistan in Karachi. “After I was bowling my first ball, it was like I couldn’t really feel my forearm. However I liked the sensation. It took two or three balls for it to go, and after I was hit for my first boundary I simply thought: ‘It’s a standard recreation now.’”
Together with his fellow leg-spinner Adil Rashid, in all probability England’s best ever white-ball bowler, now 35, Ahmed has come to be seen by many as his possible inheritor. “They’re large footwear to fill. Even serious about it places strain on me,” he says. They’re fairly completely different bowlers – “Rash is extra of a conventional leg-spinner, however not old school due to his variations. Whereas me, I deal with bowling it a bit faster, not attempting to spin it as a lot, and hit the stumps each ball,” Ahmed says – and separated greater than something by expertise.
Rashid barely performed worldwide cricket earlier than 2015, when he turned 27, and has now made 679 senior appearances throughout three codecs. Ahmed has nonetheless performed solely 4 first-class video games, eight within the 50-over format and 21 T20s, together with his worldwide matches.
As he returns to Leicestershire, Ahmed’s focus is on the county season and the pink ball. “I used to see Take a look at cricket as a boring recreation form of factor,” he says. “Nevertheless it’s a protracted recreation, it’s the toughest recreation. Now I see it as probably the most enjoyable recreation, I take probably the most pleasure from it and stuff. The enjoyment I received from enjoying and profitable a Take a look at match was unmatched. I don’t know if something can match that.”
That he’s not one for short-form leisure is proved by the way in which he crammed his downtime on tour: watching the epic Turkish drama Ertugrul on Netflix, which runs to 90 episodes, or round 68 hours, in all. “It’s about non secular wars and that form of stuff. It’s fairly attention-grabbing,” he says. “So I’m studying now – I by no means used to learn books, however now I’m studying subtitles.”
With locations in England’s red- and white-ball groups extra hotly contested than ever, Ahmed is conscious that getting a number of video games on the subcontinent over the winter doesn’t assure involvement on this summer time’s Ashes or the 50-over World Cup that follows them. However off the pitch, at the least, he’s affected person. “I nonetheless dream of it, however on the similar time I take every day because it comes,” he says of the Ashes. “If I play I play and if not then I don’t, that form of factor.
“The factor is with England, if I don’t play I really like watching it. So after I was twelfth man in Pakistan, it wasn’t simply me being twelfth man. It was me really watching England cricket dwell – and it was the very best day of my life.”