Fixture News | 1st August 2007

Bilal ready to step up

Bilal Shafayat claims he’s ready to take on the mantle of the injured Mark Ealham by bowling in the middle overs for Notts in the NatWest Pro-40.

NatWest Pro-40 League Division One
Hampshire Hawks v Notts Outlaws
Start time: 4.40pm

With the veteran all-rounder out for at least three weeks with a hamstring strain, Director of Cricket Mick Newell has turned to the multi-talented 23-year-old to produce his medium-pacers at the Rose Bowl.

Bilal acted as 12th man for England during the Trent Bridge Test and spent some of his time during nets to practice his bowling.

And although AJ Harris, Kyle Hogg and Gareth Clough will provide the frontline seam options, Bilal can expect to turn his arm over at some point in the match.

He said: “Mick told me that I would need to get some work in on my bowling and I’ve been trying to do that over the past few days.

“I’ve never done it before on a consistent basis but with Ealy missing for a while, I could have a few games to find my rhythm.

“All I’ll be trying to do is bowl wicket-to-wicket on a tight line and length and hopefully pick up a few wickets on the way.”

Notts got their campaign off to a flying start in their opening fixture last month, with Warwickshire brushed aside at Edgbaston.

Bilal only missed out on claiming the title with Northamptonshire last year on run-rate and sees some similarities between the Steelbacks and Outlaws squads, which he believes means Notts could be challenging for the League themselves.

He added: “Northants had lots of all-rounders who could all bowl and hit the ball a long way, which is also the case for us.

“I did bowl a couple of times for them but also took on the wicketkeeping duties as well, so I was always involved in some way or another.”

Squad news:
Bilal comes in as a straight swap for Ealham, while Paul Franks will also travel with the squad as an extra bowling option.

Swann, Fleming (capt), Wagh, Hussey, Patel, Read (wkt), Shafayat, Hogg, Clough, Ferley, Harris, Franks. 

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