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Kabir seeing clearly

Contact lenses the key for Worcestershire's forgotten man

Ali: can see properly now!

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Kabir Ali has got on an England recall firmly in his sights - now he can see properly!

CRICKET AM
9am, Saturday, Sky Sports 2

"For one or two years I'd struggled because I was basically as blind as a bat! I was seeing all sorts, especially when the bowler bowled a bouncer - I just lost it and ended up with a bruise or two."

Kabir Ali

Quotes of the week

The Worcestershire all-rounder told Cricket AM he still has hopes of a return to the international fold following his only Test appearance in 2003 and 14 one-day internationals.

He failed to make the ICC Champions Trophy squad this week but is still hopeful, certainly now his vision is working properly.

"I'm actually starting to see the ball better now because I've got contact lenses!" he said.

"For one or two years I'd struggled because I was basically as blind as a bat! I was seeing all sorts, especially when the bowler bowled a bouncer - I just lost it and ended up with a bruise or two.

"The last two (England) games I played in Sri Lanka didn't go too well, but I'm only 27 and there's a long way to go.

"If someone had said to me I'd have played a Test by the time I was 22, I would have laughed. I was still learning my game but to bowl in the same side as Alec Stewart, Nasser Hussain, Andrew Flintoff, it was brilliant.

"I'm a better bowler now. Obviously I know my game better and I can control the ball a lot better now so if anything does come up now I'd definitely give it a better shot."

Ali's stats this season back up the claims of improvement.

Although Worcestershire 'didn't turn up' in the Twenty20 Cup, he and new pace partner Simon Jones have both taken 26 wickets apiece, leading to an ICC call-up for the 2005 Ashes hero.

Frustrating

Ali missed out this time but is far from bitter and believes he is already benefitting from his new mucker.

"I'm kind of working off him at the moment," he said.

"He's a great act to be honest, because he helps you out in the nets and I'm one of these guys who likes looking at other bowlers and learning bits and bobs and he's a great help.

"It is a bit frustrating (to see Jones get all the media attention) but I'm obviously happy for him because he's a team-mate and a nice lad and I wish him all the best.

"If I do my things right and just control the controllables, we'll see what happens."

And if destiny has anything to do with it, he should forge his way back to the very pinnacle of the game.

Not only because the brief modeling career he embarked on a few years back has earned him 'all sorts of abuse' and is not likely to replace cricket as his number one love, but also because he was just born to be out in the middle - or at least christened a cricketer.

"When I was born dad actually smuggled a cricket ball in (to the hospital)," he revealed.

"My granddad wasn't too keen on cricket but apart from that, all our family plays and dad decided to smuggle a cricket ball in and rubbed it on my forehead!"