This keeper is the real Adeel

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Wicketkeeper Adeel Shafique is determined to earn a county contract after turning in some solid performances on tour in the United Arab Emirates with MCC Young Cricketers.

The 20-year-old from Milton Keynes is part of a 15-man MCC Young Cricketers squad that is coached by former England international Mark Alleyne that helps players transition into professional cricket.

The Young Cricketers got the chance to strut their stuff in the UAE when they took on Middlesex in two T20 matches, a three day and one day match with the MCCU Combined XI and finished with a 50-over game against Sussex in the Zayed Stadium.

They didn’t disappoint, bouncing back from defeat to Middlesex with victories over the MCCU Combined XI and a two-run win over Sussex.

And he hopes he can keep the momentum going into the new season as he looks to make it at the top level.

“Abu Dhabi was a great tour, we won three games. I was lucky enough to go last year as well so that was really good,” said Shafique.

“It was great playing against the likes of Sussex and Middlesex and we have a great set of lads. I think it was a better tour this year and to beat a major county like Sussex was obviously a great achievement for the guys so that was the highlight of the tour.

“I batted three times and got a not out in my first knock against the combined unis and we got 80 in 10 overs so that was a good start and I was allowed to open every game which was good.”

Shafique, who is hoping to follow in the footsteps of Sir Ian Botham – a successful former MCC graduate, will now turn his attentions to the season where the Young Cricketers will play against professional counties in the 2nd X1 Championship and Trophy.

And he says he wants to produce eye-catching performances and secure a professional contract.

“I’m just keeping my options open and hoping to get a contract by the end of the year,” he added. “To get a county contract is the next step for me. I’m involved with Durham and was a little bit involved with Nottinghamshire last year but I don’t think that is going to go anywhere.”

Marylebone Cricket Club’s famous Young Cricketers programme provides expert coaching, intensive playing schedules and world-class facilities to young men and women with the potential to progress to professional cricket. Notable ‘graduates’ include Sir Ian Botham, New Zealand’s Ross Taylor and England Women’s Heather Knight.