Nadeem Ahmed Irfan Ahmed

Brothers Nadeem (22) and Irfan Ahmed (20) of Hong Kong are among the regions’ finest all-rounder prospects and would surely feature in an Asian Associates and Affiliates representative XI. Having played ODIs already, they are on the brink of further success as professional cricketers in Hong Kong and abroad. Their rise to maturity coincided with a strong series of performances by Hong Kong as they won the 2008 ACC Trophy and 2009 ACC U-19 Elite Cup as well as completing a fine run in the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League.

Alongside their playing commitments, the brothers are Regional Development Officers for the Hong Kong Cricket Association. Nadeem spent last summer playing league cricket in England for Rotherham Phoenix where he finished in the top 10 wicket-takers in the South Yorkshire Premier League with 47 wickets at 13.53. Irfan, also succesful in English league cricket, is likely to feature strongly in ICC U/19 World Cup 2010 currently being played in New Zealand.

They spoke to us in Sharjah during the recent ACC Twenty20 Cup.

“We have it in us to be in the top 12 in the world.”

Nadeem Ahmed: “I started playing in 2001, following the example of our elder brother. I started as a fast bowler but I became a spinner quite early. After the 2004 Asia Cup when I played my first ODI against Pakistan in Sri Lanka I went to work with Maninder Singh at the MRF Spin Camp in Chennai and really focused on becoming a good spinner.”

Irfan Ahmed: “I’ve always enjoyed bowling fast and I do better as a batsman when there’s more responsibility on me.”

Nadeem: “We have it in us to be in the top 12 in the world.” (Hong Kong are currently 24th)

Irfan: “If players can step up their game, and the administrators really back us There’s enough talent in Hong Kong to go a long way.”

Irfan: “ACC level competition is tougher than what you get abroad but matches against Ireland and Canada are challenging.”

Irfan:Robin Singh was a big influence on us when he was our coach a few years ago. Personally he liked us and worked hard on us.

Nadeem: “He made me bowl all day once in the sun with just a little bit of fluid, to get my action and control right.”

Irfan: “When I play too much cricket my bowling rhythm suffers. I’ve learnt to stay cool and calm, not be too aggressive. No opposition batsman really stands out.”

Nadeem: “At the moment, what we are, if we were in Pakistan we’d learn more by being with top cricketers. Hong Kong cricketers are in danger of getting stuck if they just mostly play domestic cricket.”

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