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Kent Spitfires head coach Matt Walker thrilled with Imran Qayyum's T20 Blast performances

By Alex Hoad

Spinner Imran Qayyum has played himself into Kent’s NatWest T20 Blast plans after just two first-team outings.

The 24-year-old left-armer was handed his Spitfires debut against Gloucestershire at Cheltenham last Thursday and then took 2-19 from four overs against the same opponents at Canterbury on Tuesday night.

With a trip to Richmond to face Qayyum’s home county and former club Middlesex on Thursday, Walker said: “Imran is most definitely in our thoughts.

Imran Qayyum is congratulated on taking a wicket against Gloucestershire Picture: Andy Jones
Imran Qayyum is congratulated on taking a wicket against Gloucestershire Picture: Andy Jones

“I think you saw the rising of a star. It’s early in his career but he’s bowled well in his first two games – although he had some assistance (from the pitch) on Tuesday night.

“He showed what he can do at Cheltenham and he’s put himself right in the frame.

“It’s what we want our young players to do. When they put in performances like that, it’s a good headache to have.”

Qayyum is desperate to get a crack against Middlesex’s star-studded line-up.

He said: “You always want to play against the best players and Brendon McCullum has played all around the world.

“It’s a massive match for me because Middlesex was my home county.

“I grew up there so it’s always a game close to my heart, whether I’m in the first or second team.

“They have got some good players but we are a top T20 side and I’m sure we’ll come out and perform like we should.”

Reflecting on his progress, Qayyum said: “It was great to get my debut (last week)
after being on the staff for four years.

“I’ve waited quite a while to get some first team opportunities but they are starting to come now so hopefully I can hold my place and keep trying my best each time I go out on the field.

Imran Qayyum Picture: Andy Jones
Imran Qayyum Picture: Andy Jones

“We were right up for it but Gloucester on the day had better skills. Hats off to them, they did well.

“We did pretty well with the ball. Looking at the Canterbury scores that was a below-par score. We need to reassess the way we batted and take it into the next game against Middlesex and hopefully we can bounce back. I’m sure we will.”

Qayyum’s first delivery gripped the pitch and spun about six inches and just past the outside edge.

He added: “You start your spell thinking if I go for 24 and get a couple of wickets then happy days.

“Suddenly if the wicket is turning then you’ve got to be the man to take some poles to help your side.

“I was happy that the wicket was turning but obviously not that their slower bowlers Benny Howell and Tom Smith bowled well on it as well. You could say they outbowled us.”

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