Rafiq’s time out of cricket has been stretched to his son Akshay’s age
2018-19 County Championship Division Two, Edgbaston & Lord’s Match Play Third Test: Warwickshire v Worcestershire (day two of three) Warwickshire 571-8 dec: Cummings 211, Trott 146, Foster 71 Worcestershire 195 & 80-3: Fell 26 Worcestershire trail by 498 runs Worcestershire 3 pts, Warwickshire 8 pts Match scorecard
Worcestershire’s fast bowler Azeem Rafiq says his young son is scared of a cricket pitch because he can’t hit it.
The 17-year-old was initially worried about his son Akshay’s fear but “wanted to know why”.
His father adds: “When Akshay said ‘it hurts’, I can understand how it feels. He said ‘when I get older it will not hurt’.”
Rafiq explained why he had missed four games this season with tight ribs.
A host of health problems for my son Rafiq’s son Akshay was born prematurely and a serious infection that left him with respiratory problems threatened his life, necessitating a lengthy stay in hospital. They also now have a new one on his arm – in aid of a charity he supports – which isn’t improving with age, but continues to give him joy and a big smile when he plays cricket.
Rafiq, 19, was forced to turn down first-team action earlier this season after his ribs gave way while the teenager was warming up during a game in July.
They have now healed and it means the 6ft 3in left-armer has missed only one game of the County Championship in five years in the side.
A crucial innings of 57 off 68 balls in the opening match of this season’s Championship only really highlighted that when he played and missed twice off fast bowler Joe Leach to set Warwickshire an unlikely target of 384, which they fell just short of achieving.
Rafiq, currently with the squad in their first practice match ahead of their clash at Edgbaston with Somerset starting on Saturday, is in line to make his return after the final day of this week’s three-match County Championship against Worcestershire.
“My body feels good and I need to keep playing cricket for my body to recover,” he told BBC Hereford & Worcester.
“The injury isn’t as bad as I thought it would be, so I haven’t done too much pushing.
“I need to get my body ready for Somerset now and I would love to get through that game without having to do anything else.”