Five years after dismissing Stokes, Cook, Root, Leicestershire’s Rehan Ahmed set to play against India

Rehan Ahmed is 17. He looks 14. He rips big googlies, and legbreaks, that have gone viral in England cricket circuit. Especially the googlies. He will now play against the Indians in their tour game against Leicestershire that starts today. He is an allrounder and has starred for England U-19s, and for Leicestershire in recent times.

Five years ago, when he was just 13 years old, he had taken out three England captains – Ben Stokes, Alastair Cook, and Joe Root. He was a nets bowler at Lord’s, then. Ahmed showed a sense of humor when he talked about the experience.

โ€œThat was an unbelievable experience. I got Ben Stokes out, Alastair Cook and also Joe Root – caught at extra cover but no-one mentions that one. Stokes and Cook snicked me behind, โ€Ahmed once told

โ€œWhen I got Ben out he got quite angry so I didn’t celebrate too much. I just couldn’t believe it. I wanted to bowl as well as possible so I tried to imagine I was just bowling to a club batter. Then I looked and I just couldn’t. I was running in thinking, that’s Alastair Cook down there. Alastair Cook! โ€

From being an awed kid, he has seamlessly moved to be a viral sensation. Ahmed had come through the Nottinghamshire youth ranks before he switched to Leicestershire.

Ahmed, who is coached by his father Naeem who shifted to England from Pakistan in his late teens, started off as a seam bowler but it was height that made him abandon it. โ€œI couldn’t bowl bouncers because I was too small! . โ€œIf I was going to bowl seam then I wanted to be fast. I was having a net with a really close friend of mine, Akif Farooq, his dad and my dad. Akif’s dad was a very useful spinner so he told me to try off-spin.

โ€œI bowled one ball that didn’t land properly, so then I tried leg-spin – it landed half-decently so I stuck with it. I also realized that there weren’t too many leg spinners in the world and I wanted to be different. โ€

His twitter feed is a good place to start. It has videos of him winking out hapless batsmen with his googlies. Naeem had brought his 8-year old son to open trials at Nottinghamshire and was soon drafted into the system. Later, he would move to Leicestershire.

He has had his run-ins with two of the modern-day leagues, the great Shane Warne and Pakistanโ€™s googly-artist Mushtaq Ahmed.

In 2016, Ahmed was bowling at the nets of Nottinghamshire when Mushtaq, who was strolling by, stopped to watch the kid bowl. Naeem, the father, has spoken about it in the past how Mushtaq came back to watch his son, and advised him to carry on bowling and ignore any coaches.

Later on, he met Shane Warne, his idol. โ€œI was watching Shane Warne bowling on YouTube. He had a flipper and used to set batters up differently, โ€he told The Cricketer. โ€œI loved it and started bowling legspin.

โ€œI thought I was just going to sit down with him and have a chat – that was already amazing – but when he said ‘come on, let’s go have a bowl’, I couldn’t feel my toes!”

Last month, at the demise of Warne, Ahmed tweeted, โ€œNot just an inspiration and a role model to me but a inspiration for millions across the globe. Your words of wisdom and inspiration will forever stick by me. โ€

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