Born and raised in Nottingham, the multi-talented Shafayat was earmarked for big things from the moment he began breaking batting records at Colts level and was selected for England Under-17s at the age of 14.
One of the first players to join Chris Tolley's Academy, he made his Championship debut six days before his 17th birthday in 2001 - Notts' youngest ever debutant in the competition. He showed no nerves and stroked a confident 72 against Middlesex and followed that up with 104 against Worcestershire in 2002, making him the youngest player to record a century for Nottinghamshire.
He succeeded Paul McMahon as captain of England Under-19s, scoring four hundreds in 10 Tests, but was never really able to cement a regular place in the Notts First XI, despite selection for England A in the winter of 2003-04.
At the end of the 2004 season he opted to make the move to Northamptonshire with the promise of more regular first team cricket. It paid off in 2005, as he played every First-Class match and reached 1,000 runs for the first time but, with a young family of his own, he chose to return to Nottingham for 2007, signing a three-year contract.
An engaging personality who always has a smile on his face, Shafayat's wristy strokeplay seemed perfectly suited for the number four spot; allied to being an accomplished wicketkeeper - he kept for the Outlaws in List-A and T20 matches when required - Shafayat can also turn his arm over with some medium pacers, though his record with the ball is modest.
He shot to prominence in the 2009 Ashes series when Australian captain Ricky Ponting was caught on camera suggesting that his trips to the middle as England’s twelfth man were perhaps a little too frequent as Jimmy Anderson and Monty Panesar held out for an unlikely draw at Cardiff.
He was subsequently awarded substantial damages by Nationwide News after publication of an article which featured offensive comments about his appearance. Shafayat accepted an apology and donated the fee to the Cricket Foundation's Chance To Shine initiative.
He was released by Nottinghamshire after the 2010 season and played domestic First-Class cricket in Pakistan in 2010/2011. He played second eleven cricket for Hampshire at the start of 2011 and averaged 239.5 in his two matches before returning to Northamptonshire on a match-by-match basis during the 2011 season. He ended the season playing for Wellington in the Birmingham League. In April 2012 he joined Shropshire and the following month was registered by Hampshire as available to play, though without a contract.
Shafyat is still playing regularly in the Nottinghamshire Premier League, with Cavaliers and Carrington CC, having made his first appearance in that league, for the Cavaliers, in the inaugural 1999 season. He is also on the support staff at Trent Bridge, coaching the county's Under-14 squad.
Bilal Shafayat went to Morocco in September 2023 to help distribute aid and essential supplies in the aftermath of a devbastating earthquake. Bilal, whose wife hails from the North African nation, spent several days delivering resources to those most in need after the disaster.
Nottinghamshire First-Class Number: 563