Matt proud of Shoaib’s rapid rise

There is one person in particular who is feeling a sense of pride in Shoaib Bashir’s call up to the England Test squad.

Matt Drakeley, SCCC’s Head of Talent Pathway, played a key role in drawing the talents of the young off spinner to the attention of the County in the first place.

Earlier this week, Matt spoke about how he first became aware of Shoaib’s ability.

“Two years ago, Somerset Under 18s got drawn against Cornwall in first round of the ECB 50-over cup and we went down to Camborne CC with a really strong side. However, on that day Cornwall played brilliantly and beat us in quite a close game.

“This result then put us into the Plate Competition for the Under 18s Cup. We progressed through to the semi-final stage, where we hosted Berkshire at Wells Cathedral School. We batted and were bowled out for 94. One of their players took five wickets for 20, and that was Shoaib. What stood out wasn’t the fact that he got five for 20, it was that the wicket was very flat and didn’t have a lot in it for any other bowler, but he managed to get something out of it.

“He also bowled with a pace that was more consistent with professionals as opposed to more traditional county age group spinners.

“I can’t really take any credit because for me it was one of the most obvious things that he needed to have more playing opportunities. I then got in touch with Andy Hurry (SCCC Director of Cricket) and Greg Kennis (SCCC Second XI Coach). Shoaib then came and played in a couple of Second XI games and bowled really well.

“Steve Davies was playing and was really impressed with what he saw and felt that Shoaib was in the game all the time, so from that his rise through the ranks has been really quick. It’s a great story.

“From that first time I saw him right through to where he is today, he has taken every opportunity. He is someone who everyone wants to be around and as result of that he has been given these opportunities and taken them every time.

“It’s really pleasing to see, but I can take no credit for spotting him because it was the most obvious piece of scouting talent that I have ever been involved with!”