Match Day Centre Pakistan trail England by 134 runs with 9 wickets remaining

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The student who snared Pietersen

Cambridge MCC University’s Zafar Ansari is enjoying a a moment in the cricketing limelight after dismissing England star Kevin Pietersen on his return from injury.

However, Ansari doesn’t think Pietersen has an issue against left-arm spin.

Pietersen was caught low at first slip by Craig Park immediately after lunch having faced just four balls of 19-year-old Ansari’s left-arm spin.

Ansari went on to take 5-33 in a wonderful 15.3 overs spell at Fenner’s, before adding 41 as part of a 101-run opening partnership with Ben Ackland (45).

Pietersen was playing his first innings since returning home from the ICC World Cup in March to have surgery on a hernia problem. He hopes to return to England colours in time for the npower series with Sri Lanka

Exaggerated worries

Pietersen's infamous Achilles heal against left-arm spin quickly returned to haunt him though, as Ansari - who has a two year summer deal with Surrey - quickly snared the 30-year-old.

Ansari, though insists Pietersen’s supposed weakness has been exaggerated.

"I wasn’t expecting to get him out [just] because I bowl left arm spin!" said the 19-year-old.

"He’s a good player of left-arm spin and was hitting our other left-arm spinner Paul Best pretty well until he eventually got out.

"It’s one of those things which has been built up and is seen as more of an issue than it really is."

Pietersen showed hints of a return to his rapid run-scoring best, smashing one ball onto the pavilion roof for six. With tongue slightly in cheek he has also suggested that the catch to Park at slip may not have carried - with photographic evidence appearing inconclusive.

Ansari though was happy with his team-mate’s claim to have taken the catch.

He added: "I trust my team-mate who said it was legitimate.

"The picture doesn’t give the full story because there is a slope there so it’s hard to judge from a two-dimensional picture."

MCCU - 'brilliant system'

Ansari is a first year Geography student at Trinity Hall College, Cambridge.

Like hundreds of MCCU students across the country he combines his studies with playing and training in top-class facilities.

Ansari appreciates the importance of the MCCU system in aiding his cricket while he undergoes his studies.

"I think it’s nice to have the cricket as well as the work which is quite full on. I’m really happy to be up here and enjoying it." he adds.

"It’s a brilliant system. It’s nice to have everything around the corner so you can pop into the cricket centre and have a net for an hour or go to the gym and spend some time there."


As one of a number of MCCU players also contracted to county clubs, Ansari sees the MCCU scheme as providing excellent preparation for county cricket.

"If I wasn’t at university I don’t think I would have had this much first-class cricket at this stage in my career.

"I think the standard of MCCU cricket is pretty strong - close to second team cricket, if not as strong in a lot of cases.

"It does prepare you very well I think to get ready for county cricket and for me to try and push into a very strong first team at Surrey.

"I’m very grateful to be here and enjoying the whole MCCU set up really."

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