NY Mayor's Cup
Mirza Makes English County Debut
June 30th, 2009
New York's Cameron Mirza made his county debut for Northamptonshire Under 17's against a South African touring side at Oundle Cricket Club today. The 15 year-old batsman featured in 50 over Northamptonshire's Development Team match thanks to an arrangement made by MCI Head Coach, Ian Pont.
Pont is a consultant coach to the Northamptonshire professional and Academy teams and recommended that Mirza get a chance to play whilst he was in the UK, having worked with the player at Dream Cricket's summer camp last year. It's part of his ongoing development as a player through MCI and is a wonderful opportunity to experience county age group cricket.
''It was an amazing day'', said Mirza. ''I batted at number 5 and faced two really good spinners on a slow, low pitch that offered a huge amount of turn. The South African side made it hard to score with accurate bowling and tight field placing and it was a challenge to just survive for any length of time.''
With the temperature nudging 90 degrees, Northants made just 167 in its 50 overs, which was never going to be enough against a strong touring team that had previously racked up 350 in the last match. And whilst Mirza made just 9 runs before getting LBW on a ball that jagged back sharply, he played a few confident shots including a lovely timed square cut for 4 and generally looked very composed.
''I am used to the ball coming on to me as an opening bat so facing two quality spinners the whole time was a real test. But I loved every minute. And the other lads in the team were fantastic.''
The touring side knocked off the required target with almost 20 overs to spare and just 4 wickets down. Mirza also got a run out to get rid of the opening batsman.
Coach Ian Pont said, ''Cameron is a great player and has a lot of natural talent. Playing in English conditions is hard enough first time, but he only arrived the day before the match from the US and was thrown in the deep end. All in all I think he'll add this match into his memory bank and take the experience away as something very worthwhile. The Northants players and coaching staff were all impressed with his attitude and ability. I don't think this is the last time he'll get asked to play. The first-team pro coach, David Capel also turned up to watch.''
Mirza plays another match on Wednesday, this time guesting as an opening bat for the adult team, The South Oxfordshire Amateurs side against Tring Park CC in Buckinghamshire before flying back to NY on Thursday July 2nd.
''I can't wait'', said Mirza. ''Every match played here on grass is such a delight. It's a new challenge for sure, which I hope I can learn from quickly.''
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