Warwickshire's Shozair Ali targets big year

Shozair Ali (photo: Phil Britt)
Shozair also plays for Walmley in the Birmingham League

Warwickshire's young fast bowler Shozair Ali is setting his sights on a successful campaign with both his club and country.

The 19-year-old is currently preparing for the England Under-19s trip to play in Bangladesh and is targeting a place in the World Cup squad.

"We've got the under-19s World Cup coming up later this year and I hope to make a big impact," he said.

"Long-term I hope that I've got a big future with Warwickshire."

Shozair has had a rapid rise to prominence having not started playing cricket until the age of 14.

"I used to watch a bit of cricket on TV, and loved watching Waqar Younis bowl," he noted.

"But I was more of a football fan until my dad encouraged me to start playing in the Birmingham Parks League."

After catching the eye with his performances at Queensbridge School in Moseley, Shozair soon moved through the district and county teams and was called up to the England Under-15 team.

Now he is a full-time member of the Warwickshire Academy, hoping to follow the likes of Ian Bell, Chris Woakes and Ateeq Javid into the senior Bears ranks.

"It's been quite a journey during my short time playing the game, but I've had great people around me to help me improve my game," he continued.

The academy director at Edgbaston is the former Bears all-rounder Dougie Brown, and he can see some real potential in Shozair.

"He can bowl good in and out swing, but we've worked at his game to add new deliveries to his armoury - we're already seeing a good yorker," noted the ex-England and Scotland ODI star.

"He's certainly very talented and it's now up to him to keep working hard and take his game to the next level."

The England Under-19s will play seven one-day internationals while they are in Bangladesh, with the first taking place in Chittagong on 20 January.