Alex Lees column
Azeem Rafiq has been such a key part of our red and, in particular, white ball cricket over the last few years as well as captaining the team on occasions.
But for him, maybe it’s the right time to move on with his career and have a fresh start.
I wish him the best of luck, and hopefully we’ll see him at another county soon.
When he’s bowling well, he’s one of the best off-spinners in the country.
His one-day bowling is relentless. He will be a big loss in our dressing room. Everybody feels for Azeem.
It just shows that you have got to keep your eye on the ball as a player and keep working hard. You might have a good year, but the next year you might be struggling.
It now provides an opportunity for Karl Carver, our left-arm spinner who debuted in the win over Warwickshire at Edgbaston in June.
He’s a good young bowler who has a lot of ability, which he gave us a glimpse of in that game with three wickets.
We’ve also got Lythy and Jack Leaning who bowl off-spin, and they’re probably better than part-time. We’re in a decent position, and hopefully Karl can kick on.
It’s good that we’ve been able to secure our place in the quarter-finals of the one-day competition with a game to spare. Hopefully we can secure a home quarter-final, get a good draw and kick on.
We’ve had a couple of slip ups, which is only natural. But we’re very confident with the team that we’ve got because we’ve played some brilliant cricket. We bat deep, and we have a lot of options.
It was nice to be nominated for the Breakthrough Player of the Year award in the Championship. But, as Saturday showed, if you don’t perform you can go from having a good season to just a steady one. I’ve got to make sure I keep performing.