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Owais Alam Shah (Urdu: Template:Nastaliq) (born 22 October 1978 in Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan) is a cricketer who plays for Middlesex and has appeared for England in a number of One Day Internationals and two Test matches.

Early careerEdit

A cricketing prodigy as a teenager, Owais Shah began his career playing cricket for breaking records at the club, he was a complete all rounder, he was a classy yet destructive batsman and one of the quickest bowlers in the county for his age. Owais scored a league 154 for the senior first XI when aged only 12. Owais won numerous awards at for the club including the Ken Barrington National Cup. His Maturity at such a young age allowed him to be fast tracked through both the England Youth and Middlesex Cricket County System. He made his first-class debut at age 17 in 1996 and won the NBC Denis Compton Award in 1997. In early 1998 he captained England to victory in the Under 19's World Cup in South Africa, and the following season he was captain of the England Under-19 cricket team for their "Test" match series at home against Pakistan. Notable achievements at a young age led some to label him as the finest young English batting talent in 20 years,Template:Fact and his selection for the England 'A' team that toured Australia in late 1996 at the age of 17 suggested he was on the verge of a call-up to England's Test side. However, two poor seasons followed, and despite being capped in 2000, by the end of that season -- in which he made under 500 first-class runs -- he could no longer command a place in the Middlesex first team. However, he made a return to form in 2001, averaging 41.60 and making his ODI debut against Australia at Bristol. Later that summer, he made 62 against Pakistan, and in 2001 also, Shah was named by the Cricket Writers' Club as their Young Cricketer of the Year.

Return to international cricketEdit

Despite a fairly solid start to his international career, however, Shah could not produce the required consistency of form, making just one more fifty in ten innings from 2001/02 to 2002/03. He also suffered from a perception that his fielding was below par, something close to unforgivable in the modern one-day game, and he was dropped from the England side without having had a chance at Test cricket. In 2004, a year of success with the bat (1,336 runs at 53.44) was tempered by the loss of his Middlesex captaincy in mid-season after some poor results.

2005 brought much-improved returns, as he was top-scorer of the First Division of the County Championship with two weeks left to play, having made 1578 runs at an average of 65.75. At the end of the county season in September, Shah was being talked of as a possibility for England's winter tours of Pakistan and India.

He was selected for the England 'A' team tour of the West Indies that winter, but was called up to the squad for the first-team tour of India after England suffered several injuries. He made his Test debut in the third Test at Mumbai on 18 March 2006, making 88 in his first Test innings.

He returned to the England Test squad, after 15 months out, for the first Test match against the West Indies at his home ground of Lord's; however, he scored 6 and 4 in the two innings, in an otherwise productive England batting lineup. He was dropped from the squad for the second Test following captain Michael Vaughan's return to fitness.

Shah was, however, brought back for the ODI series, including two Twenty20 internationals. While making little contribution with the bat in the first match, in which England were defeated, Shah hit a match winning 55 off 35 deliveries in the second, with England drawing the Twenty20 series 1-1. He was later made man of the match. He has changed his game somewhat in recent times, and is not the classical batsman that he was in his early years; however, he still possesses a wide range of shots, with the pull shot and the fierce slap through extra cover being the most prominent.

His maiden ODI century came against India at The Oval on 5 September 2007, when he made 107* off 95 balls. Later in the same match, he bowled in an ODI for the first time, and with his 17th delivery, took his first ODI wicket, the victim being the Indian captain Rahul Dravid. Shah toured Sri Lanka with England in late 2007, and then played in the ODI series against New Zealand in early 2008. While he had a disappointing ODI series, he top-scored with 96 in the first warm-up match to enhance his claims to the Test squad.

In July 2008 he helped Middlesex win the Twenty20 Cup with a match winning innings in the final with 75 runs scored off just 35 balls, the highlight of which was three successive sixes over mid-wicket off Kent off-spinner James Tredwell.

StatisticsEdit

Owais Shah's One Day International Centuries
Runs Match Against Venue City/Country Year
[1] 107* 25 India The Oval London, England 2007

See alsoEdit

Template:Middlesex County Cricket Club squad

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