Three Essex Development cricketers will represent Team England early next year in the inaugural Peshawar Zalmi Club World Cup.
Peshawar Zalmi, who compete in the Pakistan Super League (PSL), announced last month that the club will be holding an international tournament with Peshawars from all over the world competing in the UAE in January, right before the start of the next PSL tournament.
Ten countries will be represented, including England. All the players selected for Team England are Peshawars from East London, including the three Essex Development cricketers, Zeeshan Khan, Rameez Rehman and Hamza Omar.
Khan said he was thrilled when he heard the news, “It was great feeling when I got selected and I feel really proud to be a part of this squad and represent Team England in the Peshawar Zalmi World Cup.”
He added, “Obviously my main goal will be to perform well there in Dubai because this is the great opportunity for me and for everyone who has been selected. I will be looking to work harder this winter to prepare myself well.”
For Rehman, selection was the realisation of a dream.
“I think everyone that plays cricket dreams to play for England,” he said. “So it’s a dream come true for me as it involves playing for Team England. My plans is to do the best I can for my team and hopefully get as far as we can in the tournament and come back winning the Club World Cup.”
Most of the other players on Team England play in the National Cricket League with Khan, Rehman and Omar. Six of them have also played in the Shepherd Neame Essex League: Usman Sahar (Wanstead & Woodford Wells), Irfan Sahar (Ilford), Mehad Khan (Wanstead), Waheed Khan (Wanstead), Sameem Shirzay (Wanstead) and Adil Ali (Ilford).
Performing well in the tournament comes with a special prize for the players. Peshewar Zalmi CEO Javed Afridi has arranged for the top players to train with the professional team during the PSL.
And Khan intends to put on the best performance that he can to impress the stars that will be arriving in Dubai for the PSL.
“It is a great chance to show our skills as there will be many big names and legends coming like Shahid Afridi, Darren Sammy, Javed Afridi and more,” Khan said.
Both Khan and Rehman expressed their gratitude towards Essex for helping them obtain the opportunity.
“Essex Development is a much higher league of cricket,” Rehman said. “This will help playing in big tournaments like this as I will be used to the intensity of the matches and training and won’t feel too much pressure playing.”
Khan added, “Essex really helped me to develop as a cricketer, the coaches were really great and supportive and I will look forward to joining Essex again next season if I get a chance.
“John Childs (former Essex Academy Director) really supported me and helped me to improve my spin bowling and batting. That training will definitely help me there in Dubai. Big thanks to East London Cricket Coordinator Arfan Akram for supporting and for introducing me to Essex, and also many thanks to Essex Head of Cricket Operations Dan Feist for supporting!”