Nafees Din article
By Neil Goulding
CHESHIRE will hoping their promising young batting ace Nafees
Din can firmly find his feet this season as the county push for
the Minor Counties Western Division title.
Din, still only 22, has already shown his class for a string of clubs in the North West over the past few years, firing his way into the top end of the averages with a safe nest of runs neatly tucked under his belt.
And this season sees the talented right-hander, who also keeps wicket for his club, given the chance to prove his worth for Cheshire.
Already Din, who plays for Mobberley in the Murray Smith Cheshire County League 1st XI Second Division, has shown some superb early season form which has left him averaging over 60 with the willow.
Four 50's at the start of this year's campaign has clearly set the platform for success and give the former Sale player every chance of maintaining his number four batting spot for his county.
But it was Din's gutsy innings for Cheshire against Dorset last week which raised some eyebrows on the county circuit. So much so that Cheshire skipper Andy Hall received a call from the manager of the England Amateur ECB squad, asking for Din's services after his debut hundred.
Manchester-born Din crashed 126 for Hall's men as they beat Dorset by six wickets at Oxton, which included three sixes and 11 fours.
However, at first, the young star admitted he hadn't believed he was good enough to play for his county.
"I didn't think I was good enough to play," said Din. "I've played for a lot of clubs, but I didn't know whether I was going to get the chance to play for Cheshire, but to have scored a debut hundred for my county was great.
"I came into the side last year against Devon and I scored 96, so I nearly got my first hundred then for Cheshire, but I was pleased to get his this time. I've been really happy with my form this season. I've had innings of 83, 79, 60 and 80 in some of the first matches I've played this year, so hopefully I can keep that form going.
"I've scored a few hundreds since I started playing and this one meant a lot to me, but it's not my best by a long way. I'd like to keep scoring runs though, especially for Cheshire.
"It's a big chance for me this. I really want to prove myself because I wouldn't mind playing for Lancashire one day. I just want to aspire to playing the best cricket I can do and this season that means getting as many runs as I can for Cheshire."
Indeed, a sparkling debut century in his first match of the year has certainly given Din the ideal platform on which to build his Cheshire career.
And now the ambitious strokesman, who also doubles up as a part-time freestyler wrestler when has a few moments to spare when he's not practising hard in the nets, can't wait for Cheshire's next game against Northumberland in the M.C.C.A. Knockout Competition, which starts at Cheadle Hulme on Wednesday.
"The team spirit is really high," said Din, who was a professional for in the Central Yorkshire for a season before a move back to Cheshire. "It was good to win and now we have to try and build on that and keep our winning run going. There were some very good performances from the side, and with the players we've got this year, I'm sure we can win the league and do well in the cups.
"I've been playing cricket since I was a junior, but I took time out last year to go to Pakistan and improve my game. It worked wonders and I do feel a better player now. It has a lot to do with being mentally strong and staying focused at the crease.
"I also try and stay as fit as I can. I have my own private nets to work on my technique, but since the age of 16 I'd be out running and working hard on my all-round fitness. I'm just looking forward to proving what I can do this year."
Indeed, Din proved without doubt in Cheshire's first innings he had the metal and composure, batting for nearly five hours having been 19 not out overnight, to guide Cheshire to a healthy 62 run lead over their visitors.
"It was important to get a first innings lead and we batted well to chase the game and win," said Din. "It's a long season, but I'm hitting the ball well and confident I can score some more runs."
Din's form with the bat has also earnt him selection for the Minor Counties Under-25 team, captained again by Hall this season.
"It's a big honour to play for Cheshire and Minor Counties Under-25 team," added Din. "It's a chance to prove myself and develop my career. To have been asked to play for the England Amateur ECB squad was also a real honour."