By Charles Randall
10 June 2016
The Hampshire team wore black armbands this week as a mark of respect for the death of the Bristol-based Downend CC fast bowler Hamza Shabbir at the age of 20.
Hamza, also know as Hamza Ali, made his first class debut for Hampshire in April against Cardiff MCC Universities and attended trials for the MCC Young Cricketers. He died after going for a swim with friends in the River Avon at Saltford Lock near Bath. He was airlifted to hospital but medics were unable to save his life.
Most of his short but eye-catching club career was spent at Stapleton CC in the West Of England League Bristol and North Somerset Division before moving to the top division at Downend in 2016. Bristol born, he played A List cricket for Rawalpindi Rams in Pakistan during the close season.
Charlie Freeston, head of player development at Hampshire Cricket, said: "We are shocked and saddened to hear the news – Hamza had formed a very important part of the Hampshire second team since making his debut against Kent last season. He was an incredibly committed and enthusiastic cricketer who always gave 100 per cent for the team that he was playing for."
Hamza had been recommended to MCC by Hampshire Cricket. Steve Kirby, MCC head coach, described Hamza had "exceptional all-round talent".
In April the cricket community lost another young player, Adrian St John, who was shot dead by robbers at the age of 22 during a holiday in Trinidad. A minute's silence was held at Woodford Wells CC before the recent Club Cricket Conference Under-25 match against the Chris Gayle Academy, which Adrian helped establish in 2013. Adrian was active in the Cricket For Change charity project, part of the Change Foundation.
The CCC versus Academy match was suitably well fought. The Academy were bowled out for 232 in the last of their 50 overs allocation and the CCC passed the total eight wickets down with 1.4 overs to spare, thanks to a fine century by Rashidi Boucher, of Hornchurch CC.