HONG KONG squad player Suhaib Ahmed is set to make a timely debut for Bishop’s Waltham in their top-of-the-table Hampshire League division two clash against Petersfield at Albany Road.
With both teams boasting 100-per-cent records, a titanic struggle to be top dogs is on the cards.
And the home side are hoping the appearance of their overseas player will help swing the balance in their favour.
‘Suhaib is the latest of our recruits from Hong Kong to come over and play for us,’ said Bishop’s Waltham captain Dan Wheeler.
‘It is no coincidence that our rise from county division three has happened since we started the link three years ago.
‘In the first year, bowler Azaz Khan topped our league’s bowling averages and last year Bubba Hayat smashed lots of runs – including an unbeaten 190 against Portsmouth.
‘Our latest acquisition is a 19-year-old quick, opening-seam bowler and solid middle-order batsman.
‘He has represented Hong Kong through all the age groups, captaining the under 19s, and is part of their senior squad – although yet to be capped.
‘Hong Kong are over here at the end of the month for the World T20 qualifiers and Suhaib and a few of us will be helping out in their net training.’
Since earning promotion as runners-up in division three last summer, Bishop’s Waltham haven’t looked back.
They began the campaign with four tough games but came through winning them all to become early pace-setters at the top of the league.
It has been an impressive start, with the whole team relishing life in the higher league and everyone contributing.
Gareth Lovett’s first two games produced 227 runs, and Phil Baldock has reached 176 runs in his two innings to date – including a spectacular 141.
In four outings, seven different players have already registered either a 50 or a hundred.
Bowling-wise, Bishop’s Waltham have been no less impressive, with the five main bowlers all taking more than five wickets each.
Sam Medhurst leads the way in that department.
Wheeler’s team have also bowled out every opposition so far, while they have hit more than 1,000 runs in their four games, averaging 276.
The home captain, however, is expecting their stiffest test for a while from Petersfield.
‘We know Petersfield are going well and they have the highly-experienced Carson brothers, Dominic and Damian, in their ranks,’ said Wheeler.
‘If we can keep them quiet then I am confident we can come out on top.
‘It is a big game for both teams and the chance to make a statement early on.
‘Our aim is to get as close as we can to Southern Electric cricket in the next five years.
‘Our ground is in excellent shape and always high up in the ratings.’
BISHOP’S WALTHAM: Phil Baldock, James Carss, Andy Wakeley, Gareth Lovett, Matt Stroud, Harry Barrett, Suhaib Ahmed,
Sam Medhurst, Dan Wheeler, Phil Dalton, Neerav Trivedi