June 09, 1977, Rawalpindi, Punjab, Pakistan
Left hand bat
Slow left arm orthodox
Manvers Pierrepoint School, South Notts College
A cocky, bare-knuckle batsman, Usman Afzaal caught the eye in June 2000 with a vicious 151 against Worcestershire, specifically Glenn McGrath. A year later, in the middle of an England finger crisis, he found himself in the team for the first Ashes Test. He failed twice, but regained his place at Headingley, hit an emotional fifty at The Oval, and was chosen for England's tour to India, where he carried the drinks with pride and good humour. But he incurred the wrath of the coach, Duncan Fletcher, when he reported in New Zealand above what was considered to be his best fighting weight and has been out of favour since.
Well organised and at his best against pace, he straight-drives like an angel, even if the rest of his game wouldn't gain many points for artistic merit. He dreams of being an allrounder, but his left-arm spin acts mostly as a partnership-breaker. His talents don't extend to the field where he most resembles a bear at an aerobics class. A devout Muslim, he has a strong affinity with Pakistan, and in October 2000 led a group of Nottinghamshire teenagers on tour to Lahore.
In 2004 he opted for a change and moved down to Northants where he has continued to be a solid batsman in both Championship and one-day cricket and he topped 1000 runs in 2005 and 2006 before moving to Surrey on a three-year deal in 2007. The shift to London started promisingly with consistent performances, but he didn't fit into the Chris Adams era and left in 2010 having slipped well down the pecking order.
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