RH Corstorphine’s Hammad Azam keen to wield willow against Grange

Hammad Azam in action for Royal High Corstorphine CC. Pic: Neil Hanna
Hammad Azam in action for Royal High Corstorphine CC. Pic: Neil Hanna
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Pakistan internationalist Hammad Azam cannot wait to watch his countrymen play Scotland in the Capital later this month, but for now his concentration is fully on helping RH Corstorphine as they host CSL Eastern Premier Division leaders Mazars Grange tomorrow.

Having played for his country in white ball cricket as recently as 2015, it was quite a coup for the team from East Barnton Avenue to sign Azam for this summer. In his first month in Scotland he has been a valuable asset with both bat and ball as RH have secured three top-flight wins and progressed to the second round of the Citylets Scottish Cup.

Indeed, in the first round of the Cup he hit 109 at Stoneywood-Dyce to take them through to Sunday’s meeting with East Kilbride.

There is no doubt, however, that Grange will be the toughest team he has faced this season so far, the Stockbridge men having had a great start to 2018. They are the only unbeaten side left in the Eastern Premier Division and still have the firepower of former England bowler Ryan Sidebottom who is set to arrive soon.

Azam, 27, said: “I have played for a couple of years previously in Stoke-on-Trent, so I am quite used to British conditions and I was keen for another season over here.

“When the chance came to move to Corstorphine I was quite excited because I had heard that Edinburgh was a great city. And I feel like I have settled in pretty well, the players and members at the club have made me very welcome.

“There are some really good players here, I have loved playing with Majid [Haq] and remember watching him play for Scotland. Everyone feels a part of what Joe [Kinghorn-Gray, the skipper] is doing.

“I have been glad to contribute to some solid performances from the team, but we must keep concentrating and try to get some more wins in the next few weeks.

“Grange are a good team and I know they have some Scotland players in there so we will just give it our best shot and see what happens.”

Rob Taylor and Calum Clarkson are unavailable for the home team so in come Arnie Sathiy and Kevin Meier.

Having taken five wickets last week against Stewart’s Melville, Callum Dutia will be keen to keep his good form going. The Grange team will likely be along similar lines to the one that defeated Carlton eight days ago. As en extra boost to morale, skipper Preston Mommsen and Dylan Budge were in the runs for Scotland ‘A’ in Lancashire this week.

With Peter Ross unavailable Simon Whait will take the wicketkeeping gloves for Heriot’s as they head for Glenrothes. They secured a fine Masterton Trophy win at Watsonians on Tuesday and James Hearn and Calum McDougall come into the XI.

Carlton and Stewart’s Melville meet at Grange Loan with both keen to kick-start their seasons. Kyle Macpherson smashed 115 not out against Musselburgh on the same ground last week for the second XI and is recalled by Carlton with Rory McCann unavailable.

Stewart’s Melville are bottom and for this one they have Kris Steel and Sam Tait in for Greg Bissett and Steven Parker.

Last weekend Watsonians captain Ewan Chalmers made his 150th league appearance for the club in the victory over Glenrothes.

And tomorrow they welcome Arbroath to Myreside with teenage seamer Callum Macleod brought in after impressing in the Masterton Trophy and with the second XI.

Fraser Sands is also in with Lewis Dingle and Olly Brown missing.