Scotwatch - Umeed's Time In Pakistan

04 Nov

Andrew Umeed (Ian Potts)Scotland under 19 player Andrew Umeed has been spending some time over in Pakistan honing his skills and getting the opportunity to mix it with some of cricket’s big names. 

We arrived in Pakistan on Saturday morning 18 October. After a few hours rest I took part in a training session at our local club, Lyalpur Gymkhana Cricket Club, where there was a good mix of professional and amateur cricketers at the session. 

The next morning I was fortunate enough to play for the senior Saeed Ajmal International Cricket Academy side, in a team that consisted of a mix of former and current First Class players! 

In this first 30 over match I was able to provide a solid opening stand and finished the innings on 47 not out.

I then followed it up with 56 runs the next day, playing for is local club Lylepur Gymkhana.

After these opening scores I started to feel a little more confident, which allowed me to adapt to the conditions by playing my natural game allowing some big hitters – Rana Zubair and Asif Hussain - to take the score to 272 in a 35 overs match.  

The games come thick and fast over here, and it wasn’t long before I was involved in my third match - this time for the Faisalabad Wolves U19 side. 

We were up against the senior Saeed Ajmal Academy side and made 103 not out. It is very difficult to assess the level of the club cricket as each team may consists of several former and current first class, as well as the odd Test Player, but needless to say I was pleased with my contribution. 

The highlight of my last two weeks, however, came last Wednesday when I led the senior Saeed Ajamal Academy side for a friendly match. The team consisted of Pakistan's two premier off spinners, Saeed Ajmal and Adnan Rasool. 

We were met by a local media frenzy as the Pakistan Cricket Board were filming the two players new modified bowling actions under the supervision of former Pakistan Bowling Coach, Mohammad Akram. 

After winning the toss opted to bat first, I enjoyed a third wicket stand worth 150 with Asif Ali in dry and hot conditions before we declared (I’d made 47 and Asif 103) in the 21st over. 

We successfully defended our total of 270 runs in 40 overs. Saeed Ajmal's first wicket came when I completed a low catch to my right, at first slip. Fair to say, not something you get the opportunity to do every day! 

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Andrew isn’t the only Scottish player abroad, last season’s Scotland U17 player, Ben Wilkinson is plying his trade with the Southern District Stingrays in Adelaide as he takes part in the Darren Lehmann Academy over the winter. 

Scotland cap George Munsey has also been in the runs for his side, North Canberra Gungahlin, down under. He made 51 in his most recent outing as his side chased down 240.

The aggressive left-hander is hoping to catch the selector’s eyes with some solid performances for the ACT Comets.

Recently he spoke to the Canberra Times on his Scotland chances, "It's a small chance, it's going to be tough, I'm going to have to score some runs for the Comets and really put my name into the squad.

"The guys in there are doing great - they lost to New Zealand by two runs off the last ball, and that was a full strength New Zealand team."

Scotland Wildcats Ollie Rae and Samantha Haggo are also having a taste of life abroad in New Zealand. The pair are playing for Sydenham Cricket Club in Christchurch. 

Rae has found some success with the bat for her side, and has since been invited to train with the Canterbury Wizards over the next few months. 

Craig Wallace has also been coaching and playing for Old Boys Collegians in Christchurch. 

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