Moeen Ali was tipped for the top long before he won his Test debut at the start of 2014. His batting that stood out during his early Test appearances. He made an outstanding, unbeaten century in his second Test, at Leeds, as England went within two balls of saving the series and while he did unveil the first doosra bowled by an England spinner in the same game, Signed by Warwickshire as a 15-year-old, he made a century on first-class debut against Cambridge MCCU (he remains the second youngest man to score a first-class half-century for the club) and Championship debut against Nottinghamshire but was dropped for the next game on both occasions. He also captained England U19 to the semi-final of the 2006 World Cup, blasted a 56-ball century in an U19 Test against Sri Lanka and, as a 14-year-old, smashed 195 not out in a Twenty20 match for his under-15 club side Moseley Ashfield. The next highest score was 11.
Moeen’s development had a significance beyond the playing field. Taking on the mantle of role-model for fellow British Asians – a sector of society that county cricket has not always encouraged as it might have done – he also talked eloquently of his Muslim faith and grew perhaps the most noticeable in English cricket since the days of WG Grace. He became known fondly as “the beard that’s feared” at New Road.
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Kabir Ali – (England, Worcestershire CCC, Hampshire CCC & Lancashire CCC) – Retired right hand bat and right arm fast bowler who was one of the very best at death bowling, having the ability to bowl fast in swinging yorker’s. Born in Birmingham, Kabir played 1 test match for England and 14 One Day Internationals. Kabir played close to 400 first class games in a career spanning from 1997 – 2014, with a highest score of 92 and career best bowling figures of 8-50, and making close to 4,500 runs and taking just over 900 wickets. Kabir was also the first of his immediate family to play first class cricket followed by his first cousins Kadeer and Moeen Ali. Injury forced him to retire early from Lancashire CCC and today Kabir as an ECB level 3 coach runs his own cricket academy as well as training emerging and elite fast bowlers.
Young spinners in England will always make headlines if they take wickets. When it is a young legspinner the hype is magnified. When it is a young spinner of Pakistani extraction, brought up in Yorkshire, the sense of excitement becomes palpable. Adil Rashid, the player who above all symbolized Yorkshire’s growing success in fostering strong relationships in its minority ethnic communities, burst onto the scene with six wickets against Warwickshire on his first-class debut in 2006 at Scarborough. There was a sense in Yorkshire’s much-loved seaside town that afternoon as Rashid cut through Warwickshire that a historic breakthrough had been made and more than one Yorkshire supporter observed Rashid’s performance with hearts uplifted.
At home, Rashid enjoyed his most productive season for Yorkshire in 2010, scoring 732 first-class runs at 45.75 and taking 57 wickets at 31.29. He began the 2011 season with a bang, taking 6 for 77 and 5 for 37 to secure victory against Worcestershire at New Road, the best figures for a leg-spinner in Yorkshire history, but failed to maintain his form, finishing the season with 39 wickets at 43.38. From 10 Championship matches in 2012 he totalled only 16 wickets and 129 runs and his discontent was apparent.
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Isa Guha (England & Berkshire CCC) Retired right hand bat and right arm medium fast bowler. Isa made her England debut at age of 17 and has One Day International career best figures of 5-22 and Test career figures of 5-40. Isa was ranked at the end of 2008 at the number one bowler in the ICC Women’s One Day International rankings and cites winning the World Cup in 2009 as a career highlight as well being a 3 times Ashes winner.
Today Isa works extensively in media and has become a global face of cricket presentation on television. Firstly presenting ITV’s coverage of the IPL , Isa has covered events such as the Caribbean Premier League, ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, as well as the Big Bash in Australia, Isa even switched sports to cover the Rio Olympics. Isa was also one of the first women to summarise on BBC’s Radios Test Match Special and continues to to be a very eloquent regular on the speaking circuit as well as an accomplished host of corporate events.
Vikram Solanki – (England, Worcestershire CCC & Surrey CCC) Retired top order batsman and right arm off break bowler. Born Rajasthan, India. Vikram was one of the most prolific and elegant batsman of his generation. He played 51 One Day Internationals with a highest score of 106 and 3 T20’s for England. Having made his Worcestershire debut in 1995 at the age of 16 Vikram finished his career at Surrey CCC in 2015 scoring over 32,000 runs with a highest first class score of 270 as well as over 100 wickets. Vikram is now a full time Assistant Coach with Surrey CCC , working with all aspects of the professional squad, including the Second XI.
A talented, wristy strokeplayer, capable of opening the innings or batting in the middle order, Ravi Bopara was a regular member of the England set-up for several years without ever making himself indispensable. Admirers of his laid-back approach to life, and there are many, still live in hope that his England career will finish in a blaze of glory, but England’s inglorious World Cup campaign in 2015 – and his 120th ODI cap against Afghanistan in Sydney – could prove to be where his international story ends.
In 2002, aged 17, Bopara earned a professional contract with Essex and immediately established himself as a name for the future. He made his first-team debut the same year, playing three Championship matches before being picked for the Under-19 World Cup in 2003. Three years later, his county form was rewarded with a place in England’s preliminary squad for the 2006 Champions Trophy and the Academy squad to be based in Perth during the winter’s Ashes series. Essex promised to bring him sustenance as those England opportunities faded. He was appointed as limited-overs captain in 2016 and was also a valued signing in various T20 tournaments around the world even if England had turned to batsmen with more explosive strokeplay.
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Min Patel – (England & Kent CCC) Retired right-handed batsman and slow left arm spin bowler. Born in Mumbai, India Min made 2 appearances for England against India. Min played over 300 games for Kent CCC from 1989 – 2007 scoring over 4, 000 runs and taking 700 + wickets in all formats. In 1994 Min was the Country’s leading wicket taker with 90 wickets and a bowling average of 22.86. At the start of the 2008 season Min was forced to retire due to a recurring elbow injury. Today Min still continues to have a strong association with Kent CCC and is now working within the County as their lead spin bowling coach as well as working with their Academy and senior cricket teams. Min has also worked as spin coach with a number England and England A team bowlers and as a Level 3 coach he is arguably the Country’s lead spin coach.