Trinity Hall's Zafar Ansari is awarded a contract with top County side cricket team, Surrey.
Combining sporting excellence with your studies is a challenge which many Cambridge students face on a regular basis, but Zafar Ansari has now reached a new level, having just been offered a professional contract with County Championship side Surrey.
Surrey is home to some of the biggest names in world Cricket, and Ansari, who has a part of the counties youth set-up for a decade, told TabSport of his joy at receiving the offer: “Obviously I’m absolutely delighted to have been offered a professional contract. I’ve been working towards this since the age of about 9.”
“With Surrey currently employing [England internationals] Kevin Pietersen and Chris Tremlett, this contract will allow me to spend time with these players and gain a lot from their international experience.”
But Ansari, a first year Geographer at Trinity Hall, insisted that the University will still take a high priority: “I would hope that the contract will have little, if any, impact on my university studies; things with Surrey will really kick in only once exams have finished”.
In the mean time Cambridge have a genuine all-rounder, who’s leg-spin bowling and high class batting will surely prove a huge asset to the Blues’ side over the next three years. Ansari will play for the University if picked, although Surrey 1st team fixtures would of course take priority.
With the England side which features Tremlett and the world’s former number one batsman Pietersen performing so well in Australia, there is a new wave of enthusiasm for cricket across the country, and Cambridge’s new star is looking to join the party: “I want to play in the Ashes in front of huge crowds. While the chances of this occurring are, of course, very small, to strive for anything less far-reaching and ambitious, for me, would be wrong”
The MCG may be a fair distance away, but Ansari could be playing at the Oval, one of the biggest grounds in English cricket, sooner rather than later. With three Varsity matches ahead of him, at the very least we should hope to be seeing the beginning of an exciting period for Cambridge cricket.