Surrey's Ansari targets repeat performance
Weybridge cricketer Zafar Ansari has enlisted the help of his older brother to make sure last season’s Clydesdale Bank 40 trophy triumph is not a flash in the pan.
The 20-year-old Surrey cricketer starred in the 40-over competition as the Lions secured their first silverware since 2003 at Lord’s in September.
Ansari, a student of Politics at Cambridge University, is after a repeat performance this term and fellow Weybridge player Akbar is helping to keep his career heading in the right direction.
“Winning trophies gives you a taste for more. This winter I’ve worked harder than ever because I want to experience again what I did last year,” he said.
“It is difficult to combine cricket with studying at Cambridge because it is a university that is quite demanding on your time academically.
“It helps that my brother is a student at the university too because it means I can train with him.”
Former Hampton School student Ansari, a left-arm spinning all-rounder, enjoyed his first taste of regular first team cricket with Surrey last summer, culminating with the CB40 Lord’s success.
But, unless there are injuries among the Kia Oval squad, it is unlikely he will play much until the beginning of June because of university exams.
His experience on the field, Ansari is a regular bowler of the so-called “death overs” at the end of a one-day innings, and his relaxed approach should at least give him a steady hand when he turns over the exam papers in Cambridge.
Although he will not have the backing of 22,000 supporters at the Kia Oval to help him rise to the occasion.
“I really enjoy bowling those overs. That is what you play the game for. They are the enjoyable times,” he added.
“I like to use the crowd a lot – especially at the Oval – I like to feed off their energy.
“Then it is a case of trying to think the batsman out.
“I never take the game too seriously because that only adds to the pressure. I just enjoy playing sport.”
And it is the enjoyment factor that has him dreaming of more this summer.
“I want to play as much one-day cricket as I can and if the chance to play in the county championship comes up, hopefully I’ll be the next in line,” he added.
“Because I am an all-rounder I’ve got two avenues into the team. It is going to be tough, but I am confident that if I get the chance, I can do reasonably well as a batsman or a bowler.”