<
>

Ajmal Shahzad named as MCC's new head coach

Wicket moves: Ajmal Shahzad shows off his dance skills Getty Images

Ajmal Shahzad, the former England fast bowler, has been appointed as MCC's new head coach.

Shahzad, 33, played for England in all formats of the game as well as representing five different first-class counties. He replaces Steve Kirby, who left Lord's in October to become part of Derbyshire's coaching team.

Shahzad will begin in the role immediately and lead the MCC Young Cricketers programme, as well as providing elite coaching in the MCC Cricket Academy.

"It is a huge honour to be appointed to the role," said Shahzad. "There has been a lot of hard work behind the scenes but it's all been worth it, and now I'm looking forward to the years ahead.

"I believe that the 16 years of experience in international and county cricket I have is invaluable, and I am sure that this will be of benefit to the MCC Young Cricketers.

"Our job as coaches and mentors is to help these young players both on and off the field. We know enough as a coaching group to help them on the cricketing side, but it is that personal touch that counts.

"2019 is a massive year at Lord's, and with so much international cricket taking place, it's an opportunity for the Young Cricketers to eat, live and breathe what they want to become.

"The YC's programme is looking to give players who have missed the opportunity through their county age groups, or been involved with counties and not really progressed. We can potentially give them a second chance."

Shahzad embarked on his coaching career in 2017, having represented Yorkshire, Lancashire, Nottinghamshire, Sussex and Leicestershire in an 11-year playing career. He became Head Coach of senior cricket at Ampleforth College in York, whilst also working with Kirby at MCC as a one-day specialist bowling coach for MCC Young Cricketers, a role which developed into the Assistant Coach position.

The MCC Young Cricketers programme has run since 1972, and includes among its graduates England's Ian Botham and Phil Tufnell, Australia's Mark Waugh and New Zealand's Ross Taylor.

John Stephenson, MCC Assistant Secretary (Cricket) said: "After a rigorous recruitment process, we are thrilled to be able to announce Ajmal as our new Head Coach.

"His energy, passion and enthusiasm is evident and with him being fresh from the professional game, I am sure that he will be successful in driving forward the club's coaching structure."