Stories like Shafayat’s sometimes seem like tragedies, but that’s only really when the player in question has really lost it. Shafayat sounds like he’s had little more than a wobble and there are worse places to be than the Birmingham Leagues. Mohammad Yousuf’s spending half his summer there this year and he’s hardly a failure.
Shafayat’s also 26. He’s got bags of time to get it together. More importantly, it-togetherness can be attained anywhere, it doesn’t have to be in county cricket. Having got it together, he’ll need to pass through county cricket, but it seems like he’s aiming higher than that anyway, so what’s the difference?
In and out of a county side, he’d be stuck in limbo. In this position, he’s poised to launch an assault. A cricketing assault. On the England team. From Birmingham.