DateLine: 28th April 2009
After a see-saw career threatened to usher in early oblivion, Owais Shah finally got a chance at redemption in March 2006, making his Test debut against India in the final match at Mumbai. Following Michael Vaughan's return home due to injury early in the tour, Shah was drafted in as a replacement and made a composed and vital 88 in a memorable victory. A stylish and classical batsman who seemed to have the world at his feet as a teenager, he was compared in ability to the young Mark Ramprakash.
Shah made his first-class debut in 1996. His county cap followed, but back-to-back seasons with averages in the mid 20s ended with him being dropped by Middlesex in 2000. He bounced back in 2001 in fine form, and was drafted into England's one-day side in the NatWest Series where he looked at ease, especially when making 62 against Pakistan at Lord's. Even though he toured as part of England's one-day squad to Zimbabwe and New Zealand that winter, his chances were limited. He was overlooked in 2002, but again played a few one-dayers the following winter in the ICC Knock-out Trophy and in the VB Series, but he found it almost impossible to forge a place in the side. Another solid season followed, but others edged ahead of him in the pecking order, and there was talk that his fielding was not helping his cause.
Further opportunities were thin on the ground and he had to wait 18 months for his second Test - another one-off appearance, this time at Lord's against West Indies where he failed twice - but a series of eyecatching performances followed in the one-day series, as England rebuilt after another disappointing World Cup campaign. Despite the continued failings of England's top 6, he was but a spectator and drinks carrier for the Test tours of Sri Lanka and New Zealand. Good county form and half-centuries in the home ODIs against New Zealand ensured he travelled to India at the end of 2008.
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