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England's Ahmed unconcerned over prospect of home Test debut

Relaxed over home debut: England leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed pictured bowling in the third Test against India at Rajkot in February (Punit PARANJPE)
Relaxed over home debut: England leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed pictured bowling in the third Test against India at Rajkot in February (Punit PARANJPE)

Teenage leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed has no intention of putting himself under extra pressure to make a home Test debut after continuing his fledgling England career with a promising return during the recent tour of India.

The now 19-year-old Leicestershire bowler became England's youngest men's Test cricketer in 2022 when he took five wickets on debut against Pakistan in Karachi.

But with England rarely selecting more than one specialist spinner in home conditions, Ahmed had to wait a further 14 months for his next Test series.

He responded in encouraging fashion against a powerful India batting line-up with 11 wickets in three Tests during a 4-1 series loss.

Now the upcoming T20 World Cup in the Caribbean and the United States is starting to come into view, before England play home Test series against the West Indies and Sri Lanka.

Ahmed, however, said Friday his immediate priority was to bowl well for Leicestershire in the first-class County Championship, which starts next week, rather than adding to his tally of four Test appearances.

"I'm not really fussed about what I'm trying to achieve this year," Ahmed said when asked about the prospect of an England debut in the forthcoming season.

"I've tried to do as much as I can within myself. So whether that's me getting my overs in, me getting as many runs as I can, because I love my batting and I've underperformed. I want to bat better."

"I'll be playing county cricket straight away. Leicester comes first when I'm not playing for England. I didn't know if I wanted to play because I wanted a break, but I've had two weeks off and I just want to play again."

Ahmed was a member of a three-strong spin attack in India alongside fellow fledgling Test bowlers Tom Hartley and Shoaib Bashir, but there are concerns over the number of overs the trio will be able to get through in the opening months of an English season, where conditions generally favour seamers.

"Bowling in matches is something I've lacked a bit," Ahmed said. "I've bowled a lot in white-ball, not heaps of overs in red-ball plus it's April, going to be nipping round corners.

"I don't expect to bowl loads of overs because if the seamers are getting wickets, they are getting wickets and the team comes first, but I'll be bowling loads in training."

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