Kashif Ali hits 237 as Worcestershire dominate at Edgbaston

Wednesday 10th April 2024 06:35 EDT

Kashif Ali followed up his maiden first-class century in the first innings with an even better one in the second as Worcestershire took charge of their Vitality County Championship opener against Warwickshire at Edgbaston. Having scored 110 on the opening day to help Worcestershire to a total of 360, the stylish 26-year-old batsman Kashif Ali made a commanding 133 from 128 balls as his team amassed 237 for two to lead by 264 going into the final day.

Warwickshire lost their last five wickets for 27 to fold to 333 all out, giving the visiting team a first-innings lead of 27, which they extended in breezy fashion.

Kashif struck 16 fours and five sixes, and was ably supported by Jake Libby (75 not out), giving Worcestershire hope of a victory in their first match back in Division One. It was a sublime innings by Kashif, showcasing his strength in defence and attack with excellent footwork and smart shot selection. He brought up both his centuries with sixes, showing his ability to pick up length quickly and displaying extreme confidence for someone with such limited first-class experience. Before this match he had played eight times, averaging 23 with a top score of 93.

Kashif, who played second-team cricket for seven other counties before getting a professional contract with Worcestershire at 24, is a product of the South Asian Cricket Academy - the first SACA player to sign for a first-class county (although seven more have since followed).

Speaking after play on the first day, Kashif spoke emotionally about the role SACA has played in his breakthrough, ā€œIā€™m struggling to speak at the moment, I just want to thank hugely SACA and Worcestershire for this opportunity,ā€ he said.
Kashif, who was born in Pakistan, started at the Kent academy but was not offered a contract. He then had second-team trials with Essex, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Kent and Leicestershire, and was a prolific scorer for Bedfordshire in the National Counties Competitions.

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