FARIS Khan was expecting a long day on Saturday.
He’d got snared in traffic on the way to Chalfont St Peter 2’s game with Farnham Royal 2s and by the time he arrived at the ground the match had started.
His team had lost the toss and were already bowling under the blazing sun, so without any warm up Khan went straight out into the field and settled in for a long one.
He said: “It was a pretty helpful wicket, but we only had a four-man bowling attack and the medium pacers weren’t having much luck. I thought it was going to be a long day in the field.”
His fears looked like being borne out as the Royal openers moved serenely to 41 without loss. They’d got there with few scares, conceding few chances and at that stage few in the ground would have believed their innings was more than half way over.
But then captain Murray Scott threw the ball to Khan.
Fellow spinner Justin Weller came on at the other end and, just 35 runs later, Farnham Royal were history.
Khan broke through in his first over, but the real damage was done with six successive maidens that drove the Farnham Royal batters to distraction.
Eventually they cracked, and in the blink of an eye the entire batting line up had shattered into 11 pieces.
Weller, who would end the day with figures of 6-13 from 13.5 overs, said: “I don’t spin it a huge amount. I work on the basis that I only have to spin it half a bat.
“But sometimes batsmen think they can have a go at anything straight. I bowl with patience, guile and flight to try to make the batsman think they can hit a ball they can’t hit. I let them do the work and sometimes they want to work harder than they should.
“But it was such a turnaround. It was extraordinary how they went from 40-0 to 75 all out and it just shows that if you can exert pressure on a batsman they start to become a different batsman.
“There were six maidens in a row and batsmen start thinking that they can’t score a run unless they try a big shot.”
At the other end, Khan chipped in with 4-15 from 14 overs despite, he insists, not being at his best.
He said: “I was in Dubai the previous week on holiday so I was a bit rusty. The figures were good but I don’t feel like I bowled my best – not everything came out the way I intended.
“I took wickets with good balls, but I think I can bowl better than that.
“I actually thought it would be a long day in the field. The medium pacers weren’t having much luck but it was a pretty helpful wicket and after we came on they couldn’t get it out of the square.”
In reply, Chalfont openers Mike McGrory (33 not out) and Scott (34 not out) knocked off the runs inside 14 overs to send everyone home early.