Today we head up North and to the third interview in the series with Junior Club members. Rico (Harmit Phull – Junior Director of Spanish Cricket) puts the questions to the Kings XI Vitoria captain Alian Butt. Rico takes up the story…..
Earlier this year in February, I was delighted to team up with John Howden and Ittfaq Ahmed and make the mammoth journey to Vitoria (Alava) to meet up with the junior members of a recently CE registered club. It was then that I first met up with Alian Butt, a great young guy who looked after the three of us and made us feel very welcome in a new and beautiful part of Spain.
Having watched this raw, young and passionate cricket mad player perform, I certainly think we are going to see and hear a lot more of him in the future.
Welcome Alian, captain of the Vitoria U19 Juniors team, great to catch up with you again and thank you thank you for agreeing to take part in this interview.
Rico : How old are you?
Alian : I am 17 years old.
Rico : At what age did you start playing cricket, and where?
Alian : When I was 6-7 years old, I started playing cricket at home in Pakistan.
Rico : What is your first memory of cricket?
Alian : My first memory of cricket was back in 2007, this was when I watched the T20 World Cup Final between Pakistan and India on TV.
Rico : Under normal circumstances, where and when do you practice playing cricket?
Alian : I practice a lot at school, It is great because the way the set up is, it feels like you are in nets. I also practice every Saturday and Sunday with my team mates.
Rico : Do you see yourself as a batter or bowler?
Alian : I am a all-rounder so I have to love both, I want to be that guy in the team who contributes with bat, ball and with his Fielding too.
Rico : What, where and when do you think was your best performance to date?
Alian : I would say this was while playing a T10 practice match of on the rugby ground next to where we train. My team had to chase around 108 to win but we had already lost a few early wickets. I had to bat sensibly and stay in holding the innings together, but also score runs. I never gave up and when into the last over, we needed 20 runs to win, but I held my nerve and our team won a very close and exciting match.
Rico : Why do you like to play cricket?
Alian : This is a difficult question, I guess because its my passion, without cricket my life looks incomplete, I just love the game.
Rico : What is the best thing about cricket in Spain?
Alian : Well it can inspire young Spanish people to play the game because when they see someone play cricket they want to know the rules and they might be interested in playing cricket. And for a person like me who has moved to Spain from a cricket loving nation, if there is cricket played here, its makes life so much better, its something communities can relate to and helps bring them together.
Rico : What if anything is the most disappointing thing about cricket in Spain?
Alian : Finding Grounds is difficult and Spain doesn’t have a structure like other top cricketing nations where you play first class and all that, so that’s disappointing but I hope in few years it will be solved and things her very different from a cricketing point of view.
Rico : What’s your most memorable cricket experience in Spain?
Alian : Our junior and senior club have only very recently become CE members. It was only through searching the web did I find out that cricket was being played here in Spain, we were not alone!! So for us, its was a great and memorable occasion when, after talking to John and you, you guys came all that way to visit us here in Vitoria (Alava). It was great to speak to you both and get the support and guidance our new club needed. The boys were so excited when you came to watch us play with Ittifaq from Madrid United also joining you. So that was a very memorable and nice experience.
Rico : As a player, where would you like to see yourself in 15 years time?
Alian : Just hoping if I can get more chances to play Cricket at good level, and then, in 15 years time I want to be playing international cricket with Spain. let’s hope so.
Rico : Who is your favourite player and why?
Alian : I have two favourite players: Steve Smith and Pat Cummins. Steve Smith because every time you see him play it just looks like he is never going to get out, his test record is incredible. Pat Cummins is a great bowler, he his so consistent with his line and length.
Rico : If you could have dinner tonight with any famous person in the world, who would it be and why?
Alian : Shahid Afridi because the work he and his foundation has been doing for people during the covid-19 crisis is incredible, so I would like to meet him and congratulate him on his wonderful work.
Rico : What effect has Covid19 had on your young lives, for better and worse?
Alian : For better it has to be: no school for more than a month. And worse: like you know our T20 challenge cup weekend with Madrid United Juniors had to be cancelled, I was really looking forward to that and myself and the team had really been training hard for it. So I can’t play cricket, therefore sitting at home the whole day sitting in front of TV or mobile phone has bad effects on my fitness levels.
Rico : If you had a message to all people your age during these difficult times, what would it be?
Alian : Just stay at home, we have almost won this war against covid-19, Stay safe.
Thank you very much for your answers and welcome to the team!. Yes it was disappointing that the Vitoria vs Madrid challenge cup had to be cancelled, but as you put it, slowly and carefully we are wining this war against Covid-19. Maybe from next week your age group can finally go out for an hour a day so you can practice some of your cricket skills and improve your fitness. You need to, because I’m sure the Madrid juniors are getting fit too, hoping that soon, plans can be made to re-schedule the T20 challenge cup weekend.
Thanks Alian for taking part in the interview, take care and stay safe.