Shah - I can shine at three

Middlesex talisman hoping to repay faith shown by Pietersen

By Joe Drabble.   Last Updated: 19/08/08 8:33pm

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Shah: Point to prove

Shah: Point to prove

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Owais Shah is hoping his elevation to number three in the one-day side will result in a sharp increase in his batting average.

"I feel I can do a good job at three given a reasonable run. It's nice for the captain to back me to deliver a performance in a key position."
Owais Shah Quotes of the week

The Middlesex right-hander will get the chance to stake a long-term claim to the first-drop batting position after being propelled up the order for the NatWest Series against South Africa at the behest of captain Kevin Pietersen.

Shah has had an impressive year, predominantly at number six, which prompted the revamp at the top of the order.

"Twelve months ago I was desperate to play for England, the numbers six and seven places were up for grabs and I was happy to make that my own," Shah, 29, said.

"But number three is what I've done for Middlesex for eight or nine years and I know exactly what is required in that role.

"I feel I can do a good job at three given a reasonable run. It's nice for the captain to back me to deliver a performance in a key position."

Standards

Shah has now turned his attention to replicating the kind of productivity Pietersen - undoubtedly England's best batsman - has achieved.

"That's something I could probably strive for," Shah said. "A batsman like Kevin Pietersen is how I could challenge myself and say, 'Right, that's the standard.'

"If I do get a run and establish myself, then I'll be setting the sort of standards that Kevin sets.

"And maybe one day I might be the best batter in the team - I don't know, time will tell.

"I think most batsmen have the ambition to move up. The only reason for going up the order is to get the opportunity to score hundreds.

"I was lucky enough to get a hundred at six with the way the game went but now really delighted to get the chance to bat at three.

"I've been told to go and play the way I play. If the ball isn't doing much, I'll play some shots.

Axed

"If it is moving a bit, I'll sit in and get through the new ball, just do what is right for the team."

England recently showed their hand against Graeme Smith's South Africa when Shah was promoted to open for the Lions team which lost at Grace Road.

Shah's previous spell at number three for England ended in failure as he was dismissed for four and nought in the heavy series loss to India in the spring of 2006, and was axed at the end of that tour.

But he returned last July with success and has arguably been England's most consistent one-day player since, scoring his maiden one-day international hundred against India 12 months ago.

"When you're going at six, the ball tends to be old and is doing a bit less," he said. At three, you could be in second ball or the 10th over, and the ball is still doing a bit.

"You get more value for your shots if you pierce the field compared to batting at six, where you start slowly and pick up your scoring rate.

"I'm looking to play the same role as I have in the past for Middlesex, the only difference being a different shirt."

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