Shafayat: Ashes role won’t be my lasting legacy

Bilal Shafayat during his time at Nottinghamshire
Bilal Shafayat during his time at Nottinghamshire
James Vince. Picture: Sarah Standing (170455-8793)

Vince relishing ‘second chance’

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Bilal Shafayat has an important place in Ashes history but wants to be remembered for more than just getting under Ricky Ponting’s skin.

The former England under-19s batsman signed a short-term deal at the Ageas Bowl this week to add depth to Hampshire’s threadbare batting resources.

But it’s his impact as 12th man during the 2009 Ashes series that will long be remembered.

In the first Test of the series in Cardiff, the Aussies struggled to break the last-wicket partnership between Jimmy Anderson and Monty Panesar as England clung on for a draw before pressing on to regain the urn.

Shafayat was seen running to the middle of the field on a couple of occasions to bring on replacement batting gloves for Anderson – much to the annoyance of the Australian captain, who felt it was time-wasting.

A spilled drink was the official reason.

Regardless, Shafayat – a batsman who has shown plenty of promise for Hampshire’s second string – is now keen to make the most of his opportunity and forge a new claim to fame.

He said: ‘Hopefully there will be other things I will be remembered for.

‘He (Ponting) didn’t say anything personal – he’s a lovely guy. England played really well to draw that Test match.

‘I hope that won’t be my only claim to fame in cricket. I will try to do a lot more and, as long as I can, I will keep trying.

‘That last-wicket stand was brilliant between Panesar and Anderson and prior to that, Collingwood played really well. They played amazingly well.

‘But Simon Katich was playing that day and he has reminded me of it!’

Shafayat is expected to make his debut for Hampshire if the Championship game with Derbyshire ever gets started.

Yesterday, the second day was abandoned without a ball being bowled.

Hampshire have needed more batting options and the 27-year-old ex-Nottinghamshire player seems a good choice with more than 6,000 first-class runs behind him.

Shafayat, who played in the Friends Life t20 for Northamptonshire last term, is ready to stake his claim.

He said: ‘I’ve been waiting for the chance and I’m very excited to be part of the squad.

‘I’ve played in the seconds and shown some form in that and that’s what has convinced the first-team selectors.

‘I will be available for the whole season but if I don’t play in the first team, I will keep pushing in the seconds.

‘This is going to be a two-day game now – weather permitting – but we will see how it goes.

‘If it becomes a game, then we will be up for the challenge but if it’s just for bonus points then we will be ready for that as well.’