Merrylanders, Hanzalah and Huzaifah Khan looking to take the next step up on English cricket ladder

Graduates of the Zayed Cricket Academy in Abu Dhabi, Hanzalah will attend a trial at MCC Universities and Huzaifah aims to secure a place with Warwickshire U19 squad.

After completing their cricket scholarships at one of England’s best schools, brothers Hanzalah and Huzaifah Khan are now readying themselves for a crack at trying to establish themselves on the next tier of English cricket.

Hanzalah, 19, has a trial for the MCC Universities team that consists of Oxford, Cambridge, Cardiff, Durham, Leeds/Bradford and Loughborough, the last of which he attends. His younger brother Huzaifah, 17, will attend a trial at Warwickshire Under 19.

Born to Indian parents Yasmeen and Ayub in Abu Dhabi, the two siblings have come a long way since their formative years at Zayed Cricket Academy.

They represented both the academy and Merryland International School before joining Ardingly College on cricket scholarships in 2014.

Hanzalah, a wicketkeeper-batsman, is now a second year pupil at Loughborough and Huzaifah, a left-handed top-order batsman who bowls both left arm seam and off-spin, continues his higher education at Rugby from September.

In his first year at Ardingly, Hanzalah’s season got off to a bright start. They won the Sussex Inter-School Twenty20 Cup where he finished as the second highest run-scorer with an average of 40.

“The first season at Ardingly went really well,” said Hanzalah, who suffered a fractured wrist in his second year that ruled him out for half of the following season.

“It was a blessing in disguise, though, as I got to spend more time for my Advanced level examination and got exactly what was required for a place at Loughborough, which was two A’s and a B.

“At Loughborough, I attended two trials. The first was for MCC Universities, which was the top tier, and the AU Universities first team who play in the second tier.”

Hanzalah didn’t make the MCCU 15-man squad but was included as a reserve, and was selected for the AU first team.

“The MCCU have called me for a trial again in October and with both last season’s wicketkeepers out of the side the chances look good,” he said.

“But I’m not taking it for granted with some of the best players from six universities set to attend. I just hope I can to do well in the trials to confirm my place.”

Hanzalah says his game continues to improve the more he gets to grip with English conditions.

“It’s about continuing the work and backing it by some good performances,” he said.

“If I’m successful in getting into the MCCU and perform well in the two seasons I’m in the university, then the coaches can recommend me for county second XI team.”