UZI Qureshi is refusing to give up on his dream of making it as a professional cricketer after being handed the chance to put himself in the shop window.
The 20-year-old, from Chippenham, has travelled with a combined MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club) Universities side to the United Arab Emirates.
Batsman Qureshi, whose family live in Pewsham, is part of the MCCU’s set-up at UWIC (University of Wales Institute, Cardiff) and flew off yesterday morning for an 11-day tour of Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
The combined universities squad will take on XIs from Sussex and Lancashire and the MCC Young Cricketers’ side.
Former Chippenham and Wiltshire player Qureshi was released by Gloucestershire’s academy last summer and says that disappointment was the shock to the system he needed.
“It was the kick up the butt that I needed because I’d been playing in a bubble and not pushing myself as much as I should have,” said the former Marlborough College student, who is studying business and management at UWIC.
“I’ve never wanted to do anything else but play for a county side, and play for England, and I want to make sure that I’ve tried everything I can to make that happen.
“I’m looking forward to some sun and showing what I can do out there. I want to impress and find myself a new county side.’’
He added: “My parents are from Pakistan and when I was nine, my dad sent me and my brother over to an academy there, where I used to bowl at Azhar Ali, who plays Test cricket for Pakistan now.
“He became a family friend and stayed with us when he played in Scotland once. I keep in contact with him and he gives me a lot of advice.”