Shahzad out to bounce back

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Ajmal Shahzad has more reason than most, even amid Yorkshire’s collective 2011 disappointment, to put a largely regrettable year behind him.

The pace-bowling all-rounder kept going through the pain of an ankle injury, which eventually required surgery, for 10 county championship matches - to depressingly little effect.

As Yorkshire faltered to relegation from LV= Division One, and fell well short of the knockout phases after twin sixth places in each of the limited-overs competitions, Shahzad dropped ever further out of the reckoning to add to his one Test and 11 one-day international caps for England.

A paltry 25 wickets at an alarming 41 runs each resulted in the knowledge too that he, and several others, were the intended targets of public displeasure voiced at the end of a sorry campaign by Yorkshire chairman Colin Graves.

Throw in an ignominious rebuke and fine for his scuffing of the pitch while batting at Edgbaston - an uncharacteristic and “stupid act”, he concedes himself - not to mention that October date with the surgeon’s knife after all, and it is hard to imagine how 2011 could have gone much worse.

But Shahzad is an optimist - and as a new season dawns, under revamped Yorkshire management with Jason Gillespie first-team coach and Martyn Moxon director of cricket - he sees good reason to be hoping for the best again.

“There were some harsh words spoken,” he said, of the blunt language in Graves’ end of term report.

“But the stats are there for everybody to see. A few players didn’t have the best of seasons.”

He was recently invited back to bowl at England’s limited-overs specialists in the nets in the United Arab Emirates as they prepared for their victories there against Pakistan. But at 26, he knows there is much ground to be regained.

“I feel as if I’m starting at the beginning again. England, and people around the world, know what I’m capable of.

“I need to go and play for Yorkshire now, put in some good performances.

“Then I’ll just be like any other player on the county circuit. If the opportunity comes then I’m there to get picked.

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