Lancashire fast bowler Kabir Ali is on his way to Bangladesh this week.
As fellow Red Rose recruit Simon Katich, the captain of Perth Scorchers, gears up for the semi-finals of the Australian Twenty20 Big Bash competition against Shane Warne’s Melbourne Stars tomorrow, Ali is preparing for a spell in the Bangladesh Premier League.
The ex-England star has admitted that he loves playing Twenty20 cricket, so a second season with Barisal Burners will hopefully do wonders for him in the lead up to the beginning of the county season in April.
Ali, 32-years-old, has been retained by Barisal alongside Chris Gayle as they look to better last season’s final appearance.
He has been training with his new county colleagues since November, and is loving life in the North West. But, understandably, he is keen to swap the Old Trafford Indoor School for the heat of South East Asia.
“It’s my second year. I replaced Shane Harwood last year, so played eight games or something like that. I did reasonably well, and thankfully I’ve been picked again to go and play,” said the former Worcestershire and Hampshire man.
“It’s a great experience out there. You’re playing with and against some of the best players in the world. We had Chris Gayle and Brad Hodge in our side, and some of the opposition had some pretty good players in there. You can’t help but learn about and progress your own game from these senior batsmen and bowlers.
“It’s definitely better than bowling indoors. Any outdoor practice is better than bowling indoors. It’s end on January to mid-February, which means it’s not too far off the start of our season, which can only be good. Fingers crossed I do well and come back safe and sound.”
Kabir, a limited overs double winner with Hampshire last season, will hope to be selected when Barisal start their BPL campaign against Sylhet Royals on Friday.
“I’ve always loved playing Twenty20 cricket because it’s a great experience. You’ve got four to bowl and the guys are trying to smack you out of the park. There’s a bit more of a gameplan for the bowlers than there perhaps used to be. But it’s immense pressure,” he continued.
“It’s a great journey for me, and hopefully I can bring that to Lancashire and help some of the guys. Hopefully we can do well this year.
“When you look at somebody like Glen Chapple leading the side, he is the one we follow. If I can learn something from him and the youngsters can learn a bit off me, then hopefully we will do well and win the trophy.”
Katich, meanwhile, has seen his Perth side build momentum through the latter stages of the Big Bash League to book a home semi-final against the Stars at a sold-out WACA ground tomorrow morning (9am UK).
Both Ali and Katich played together at Hampshire last year, and the former believes the latter will be instrumental for Lancashire this coming summer. He added: “I played at Hampshire with him last year, and he’s a great bloke. He’s got loads of runs and experience behind him, so is great to have on and off the field. It will be nice to have him here.”
Photo (c) Simon Pendrigh