Irfan: “I played in the Lincolnshire League in England last year, after being found by an agent and it was a good experience to play so much competitive cricket in a short space of time.”

Nadeem takes on perennial rivals Afghanistan in the World Cricket League

Nadeem: “We’ve never actually played against each other. We both play as pros for Little Sai Wan in Hong Kong. I played one T20 match for his club but was n the South Yorkshire League and when I got there had wet wickets and the cold. It was so cold I couldn’t field in slips or gully and the ground was so soft that if you pressed your finger into it, it went right in. As an unknown player I had to make a name for myself quickly. No one thought the wickets could take spin but I started turning the ball square and the umpire asked to look at my hands to see if I had anything on them.”

Irfan: “I want to be an IPL player. IPL’s about taking wickets and scoring runs and I’m training hard for it. I had a good Hong Kong Sixes (Player of the Tournament) against some big names. It’s about opportunities. You never know when they’ll come. You just have to be ready for them when they do. It’s not about money. It’s just waiting for the right opportunity to come to show more people you’re good enough. Somewhere down the road it’ll come.”

Nadeem traps Misbah in Karachi, STAR Cricket Asia Cup 2008

Nadeem: “When we played in the 2008 Asia Cup we played without fear and gave 100%. (Nadeem took 4-51 v Pakistan, Younis Khan, Mohammad Yousuf, Misbah-ul-Haq and Shahid Afridi as Pakistan were 150-6 at one stage). The difference between us and Pakistan and India was fitness and technique and just plain and simple conditioning. They’ve played a million matches against good players, we’ve played just a few.”

Irfan in Christchurch, January 2009, preparing for the U/19 World Cup
Picture courtesy HKCA

Nadeem: “The important thing is to play at the highest level possible. If we do, the better it is for Hong Kong cricket. We have some good players coming up. You need a team to be fit.”

Related: Hong Kong Cricket Profile

Filed Jan 13th, 2010