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  1. #1
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    "Hopefully we can beat a couple of the big teams at the World Cup" : Safyaan Sharif

    Hailing from Yorkshire, 22-year-old pace bowler Safyaan Sharif has played nine ODIs and seven T20Is for Scotland, with his best performance coming on debut against the Netherlands in 2011 when he took 4/27 from 8 overs. More recently, he was part of the Scotland side that won the ICC World Cup Qualifiers and as a result qualified for the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. Safyaan played a crucial role in the tournament, taking seven wickets in three matches including 3-41 in the Final against the UAE.

    Scotland go into the 2015 World Cup as heavy underdogs but in an exclusive interview with PakPassion.net, Safyaan Sharif spoke about the experience of winning the qualifying event and his and the team's targets for the tournament in 2015, how he was introduced to the game of cricket and the importance of continued funding from the ICC for the Associate nations.




    PakPassion.net: Tell us a bit about your background and why you chose cricket over other sports?

    Safyaan Sharif: I got my love of cricket from my dad. He used to play cricket at a very young age and he was really good. When I was a kid we used to play in the house, but obviously at that stage I was just playing cricket for enjoyment. I then bowled against my dad in a proper match and he spotted some talent in me and I took it from there.

    I started playing when I was 11 years old at Dunnikier Cricket Club which was my local club. My dad used to play there also, and I began by playing at the junior level. From there I went on to Kismet Cricket Club before joining the junior side for Largo at Under 15s, Under 17s and Under 19s – That is where I played all my cricket. I also then played for the Largo senior side. I got a lot of help from Kismet and Largo, and Largo pushed me to district trials where I got noticed and picked for the Scotland side.

    I also used to play football and was actually quite good at it, but I chose cricket because I enjoyed it more!


    PakPassion.net: Apart from cricket what else do you do in your free time?

    Safyaan Sharif: To be honest, nothing much really. I am more of a family boy so I enjoy chilling with my family. It’s either cricket or family for me.


    PakPassion.net: Who are your favourite cricketers and who do you look up to?

    Safyaan Sharif: I look up to Dhoni as a batsman and as far as fast bowlers go my favourite has to be Dale Steyn. From past cricketers who have retired, I look up to Wasim Akram. He is just one of those great legendary bowlers.


    PakPassion.net: At the moment the ICC is pumping quite a lot of money into Associate countries – in your opinion is that money making a noticeable difference? If the money is taken away will it have an effect?

    Safyaan Sharif: Yes, definitely. I think it is making a big difference because there is a lot more cricket now. Before, there was not that much cricket in Scotland so it has definitely made a big difference. The standard of cricket has definitely improved amongst other associate countries such as Ireland and Afghanistan.

    I think if the money is taken away then it would have quite a big impact because I think the amount of cricket being played in Scotland will fall, so that will affect the standard of cricket in the country. However, of course I can’t say for certain because you never know what would actually happen.


    PakPassion.net: You were in New Zealand playing the World Cup qualifiers – how was that experience for you and what was the morale like in the team?

    Safyaan Sharif: It was the best moment of my life, definitely the highlight of my cricketing career so far. It was my first time playing in a 50 Over World Cup Qualifying competition, and then to actually win the tournament and get through – it was just an amazing feeling.

    We had a meeting before the competition and in that meeting we discussed how we just wanted to give every team a statement and show them who we are and that we are better than them. After that, everyone just kicked on from there.

    My highlight of the competition has to be the game against Namibia where the game was postponed to the next day. Their batsmen looked solid at the crease and had an 80 odd run partnership, however I then came on and picked up a few quick early wickets and turned things around. I ended up with four wickets against Namibia and then also got three wickets in the final of the tournament against UAE.


    PakPassion.net: It's been a couple of weeks since you qualified. Have you had a chance to sit down and discuss any targets for next year’s World Cup yet?

    Safyaan Sharif: No not yet. We have had two weeks off after the qualifiers, so I think in another two weeks’ time we will have a team meeting to see what’s happening and take it from there.


    PakPassion.net: In terms of personal objectives, what goals have you set for next year’s competition in Australia and New Zealand?

    Safyaan Sharif: Obviously, I will want the team to perform well and I want to do well also. Hopefully we can beat a couple of the big teams to show them that “yes – Scotland are here”. Something like what Ireland did in the 2007 World Cup.

    I haven’t played in Australia before – next year will be the first time. I am just looking forward to bowling fast on those pitches, so hopefully they don’t disappoint me. Hopefully I get a chance to play which would be really good in itself.


    PakPassion.net: In the group stages you will be facing England, Australia, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Are there any players in particular in those teams who you are looking forward to facing?

    Safyaan Sharif: Yes, quite a few actually! I still want to get my revenge on Mahela Jayawardena! He played really well against me when I faced him two years ago so I am really looking forward to bowling against him.

    England, Australia and New Zealand have been doing really well lately so it is going to be a really tough challenge for the guys. However, I have no doubt that if we play in the World Cup like we did in the ICC qualification round, we will do some damage.


    PakPassion.net: You are not going to play Pakistan in the group stages next year, and you were injured last year when Pakistan visited Scotland as well – do you have any regrets about that?

    Safyaan Sharif: Yes obviously, I have always wanted to play against my home country. It’s just a shame that I got injured at the wrong time. However, I am stronger again now so InshAllah if I get the chance I would love to play against them. InshAllah next year if we get through the group stages I will get an opportunity to face them in the second round of the competition.


    PakPassion.net: Where do you see cricket in Scotland in five years’ time?

    Safyaan Sharif: I think it is definitely improving and there are a lot more youngsters coming through as well. You can see that the Scotland team is doing well, and then the Under 19s are doing really well also in the Junior World Cup. There has been a big improvement in recent years, so I am hoping in the next five years we will continue to see a big difference.


    PakPassion.net: From an administrative point of view, what do you think can be done to make cricket more appealing in Scotland?

    Safyaan Sharif: I would say cricket perhaps needs to be advertised a bit more - we don’t get advertised enough at the moment. You have people living in Edinburgh and they won’t even know that there is an ODI game going on in the same city. It would make a lot of difference if cricket in Scotland could get advertised and promoted more.


    PakPassion.net: Within the Scottish team, who do you look up to and go to for advice?

    Safyaan Sharif: If I ever need advice I would go and talk to one of the senior players who have been around for a while. Of course then there is also ex-club cricketer Majid Haq. I used to play at the same club as him and he has a lot of experience of playing in international competitions and World Cups, so I just go to him and ask what I should and shouldn’t do.


    PakPassion.net: Safyaan, thanks a lot for your time, we really appreciate it and all the best in the future!

    Safyaan Sharif: Thank you very much!



  2. #2
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    Decent enough side Scotland but I cant see anyone bar us and Afg causing any upsets at the world Cup. Wish them all the best though!

  3. #3
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    Was a pleasure speaking to Safyaan and I wish him and the Scottish team all the best in the massive upcoming year!

  4. #4
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    They did give India a bit of a scare today.


    You are not a drop in the ocean - You are the entire ocean in a drop
    - Rumi

  5. #5
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    An interesting read.

    I was up in Edinburgh when Pakistan were there last year and the passion for cricket in Scotland is definitely increasing. The more major tournaments they play in will obviously increase the levels of interest.



  6. #6
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    Congrats to Saf for being selected in the Scottish World Cup squad, which was announced yesterday!

    All the best to him and the rest of the team as well!

    Let's knock over those poms

  7. #7
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    Scotland took Sharif to the WC and did not even give him a game - not even in a dead rubber. Great way to motivate your youngsters.

    Anyway, he is now a regular in the side and has been taking lots of wickets so he should start in all of Scotland's World Twenty20 matches.

  8. #8
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    Cricket: Safyaan Sharif’s World Cup is back on



    SAFYAAN Sharif has been cleared to take part in the T20 World Cup after finally being granted a visa by the Indian government.

    The Falkland all-rounder was left at home while his Scotland team-mates headed to the sub-continent to prepare for the tournament ten days ago.

    Sharif, who has more T20 wickets than any other squad member, was denied vital acclimatisation time as fears grew that his World Cup dream may be shattered by red tape while his application went through a different process than his team-mates.

    However, clearance arrived earlier this week and last night the player arrived in Mohali where he will take part in today’s first official warm-up match against Oman.

    Cricket Scotland’s operations manager Ross Brooks declared: “The process for obtaining the relevant visa to India for individuals who have Pakistani heritage or origins is different in that they are not handled by local Indian Consulates and need to be referred to the Indian Government for separate approval.

    “The matter has been closely managed by Cricket Scotland and by the tournament hosts, the BCCI and ICC. Until approval came through Safyaan was unable to travel but we’re pleased that his visa was issued and he was able to travel.”



    http://www.thenational.scot/sport/cr...-back-on.14608

  9. #9
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    Scotland probably have a better governance structure than Pakistan in cricket.


    Politics trumps intelligence (pun intended).

  10. #10
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    Looking forward to see Saf in action for Scotland in the coming few weeks In-Shaa-Allah.

    He played and performed very well for Scotland in the qualifying games so he really has earned his spot in the team. Hope he gets a few games and can make and impact In-Shaa-Allah


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by TalhaSyed View Post
    Looking forward to see Saf in action for Scotland in the coming few weeks In-Shaa-Allah.

    He played and performed very well for Scotland in the qualifying games so he really has earned his spot in the team. Hope he gets a few games and can make and impact In-Shaa-Allah


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    What do you make of Majid Haq's continued exclusion from the side?

    Sure he was very stupid tweeting what he did at the WC last year however I believe the cricket authorities in Scotland did not punish him further and said he was now eligible for selection again.

    Unofficially though it appears he's no longer in the plans of Scotland's cricket bosses which is a shame as his experience alone is invaluable to the younger players in the squad. He's also a very handy T20 bowler.

    If they are keeping him out for cricketing reasons and think he's not good enough/too old then fair enough but if it's for other reasons then it seems harsh.

  12. #12
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    "We need more high-profile matches against the big boys of world cricket" : Safyaan Sharif

    Sharif has been playing really well of late picking up wickets regularly. If he carries on like this I wouldn't be surprised if he gets a county contract at some point.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gabbar Singh View Post
    Sharif has been playing really well of late picking up wickets regularly. If he carries on like this I wouldn't be surprised if he gets a county contract at some point.
    He won the award of best bowler in Scotland last year. He has consistently been Scotland’s top bowler and has also started strongly in the CWCQ.

    We may see him in the PSL in coming years - who knows

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gabbar Singh View Post
    What do you make of Majid Haq's continued exclusion from the side?

    Sure he was very stupid tweeting what he did at the WC last year however I believe the cricket authorities in Scotland did not punish him further and said he was now eligible for selection again.

    Unofficially though it appears he's no longer in the plans of Scotland's cricket bosses which is a shame as his experience alone is invaluable to the younger players in the squad. He's also a very handy T20 bowler.

    If they are keeping him out for cricketing reasons and think he's not good enough/too old then fair enough but if it's for other reasons then it seems harsh.
    Apologies for the 2 year late reply...I as just waiting to see what happens with Majids career

    I think what Major did was extremely stupid - however the way cricket Scotland discarded him after that incident was also quite surprising.

    I get that they want a zero tolerance behaviour against such events, but the fact that he hasn’t played since us quite surprising

  15. #15
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    /\/\/\

    Yeah looks like it’s all over for Haq now which is a shame but he did have a decent international career (for an associate player).

    As for Sharif, he’s having another great game today.

  16. #16
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    So heartbreaking that Scotland couldn't make the World Cup. Hard to imagine the heartbreak they're going through after the umpire and rain screwed them over.


    Does cricket survive off of it's money or does it survive for it's money?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by aloo paratha View Post
    So heartbreaking that Scotland couldn't make the World Cup. Hard to imagine the heartbreak they're going through after the umpire and rain screwed them over.
    The fact that the WC is just across the border will rub more salt into the wounds.


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