AHMEDI Saleh’s dream of playing cricket for India has come true … at the age of 54!
The captain of Gloucester AIW for the last 22 years received a surprise invitation to make his international debut for the country of his birth in an Over 50 friendly against England at Broxbourne.
And Ahmedi went on to make two more appearances for India, against Wales and the United States, in the four-nation Silver Dragon Cup at Newport which was unfortunately badly hit by the weather.
He said: “I had always dreamed of playing for India so for it to happen now was wonderful.
“I played for Gujarat under-16s for three years, as vice captain, and it was a former team-mate who got in contact with me, asking if I was interested in playing.
“I had to ask for time off from Royal Mail, and they were very helpful.”
Ahmedi marked his debut with an unbeaten 21 in the pre-Silver Dragon Cup friendly verses England, who emerged 30-run victors.
He then featured in India’s opening cup match, making six after going out to bat very late in a rain-hit match against hosts Wales who won by three wickets chasing a reduced target.
Ahmedi was not available for India’s next match, against England, but came back into the side for the final match of the tournament, against the United States which had to be called off after only eight overs.
He added: “The weather was frustrating but it was still a very good experience for me.
“Hopefully there will be more opportunities to come, there are matches in India in November and also another tournament in Wales next year.”
Being presented with his international cap means Ahmedi now has a story to trump his previous best cricket memory … of playing against a young Sachin Tendulkar who went on to score a century for Bombay U16s in Ahmedabad!