TWO of Bradford's finest are gunning for Australia, as England look to win their first ever Cricket World Cup.

Adil Rashid and Jonny Bairstow are both virtually guaranteed to start tomorrow's semi-final against the men from Down Under, with their individual efforts likely to be key to England's success.

Bairstow moved out of the city as a young boy, but Rashid, who grew up in Heaton, has plenty of Bradford folk who were there for him on his cricketing journey.

His older brother Amar spoke to us about how proud he is of the 31-year-old leg-spinner's achievements.

He said: "Me and my brother Haroon have always backed him and our dad Abdul always put the effort in when all three of us were playing for Yorkshire's youth teams.

"Adil was actually home ahead of the semi-final and I trained with him like I always do, doing batting and bowling one to one.

"To achieve what he has, coming from the South Asian community, is incredible. He is a devout Muslim and belief is a major part of his success.

"He's the top wicket taking spinner of all time for England in one day internationals and he's the third ranked bowler in the world in T20 cricket.

"He's been at Yorkshire since he was nine and when he was playing for North of England U15s at the Bunbury Festival, he got the award for best batsman, bowler and all-rounder.

"He averages over 30 with the bat in first-class cricket and has scored a century and a five wicket haul in a match on three or four occasions.

"Being a leg spinner, Adil has to work twice as hard. He's had injections in his shoulder this year too, which means he's had to use his variations less and his speeds are a bit down, but that's improving now.

"He's done well and long may it continue. Hopefully he'll help us to win on Thursday and Sunday and we can win the World Cup."

David Markham is Bradford & Bingley’s league representative in the Bradford Cricket League and first came into contact with Rashid when the young leggie was just 12.

Mr Markham, who was a journalist at the Telegraph & Argus for many years, said: “Adil played for Manningham Mills before he joined Bradford and Bingley at about 12 years old.

“My youngest son Paul actually played alongside him and even then you could see him playing county cricket, if not one of the best leg spinners in the world like he is today.

“When he was 13, in July 2001, he played senior cricket for the second team against Gomersal and took all 10 wickets.

“We did a story on it for the paper and had a picture of him in front of the scoreboard, showing his achievement.”

Speaking about what Rashid did next, Mr Markham said: “He left us at 16 to join the Yorkshire Academy, just like his older brother Haroon.

“Amar still plays league cricket in West Yorkshire and he’s a good all rounder.

“Adil played a game for Yorkshire at Scarborough in 2006 and his performance there suggested he’d become a regular for Yorkshire.

“Like most leg spinners, he’s taken time to develop and he’s taken a long time to become a regular in the England team, who I think see him as just a one-day bowler.”

“He’s still got a long way to go for England and Yorkshire and people forget that he’s a very useful batsman too.

“He’s an outstanding talent and it’s great that he set up the Adil Rashid Cricket Academy (in 2012) to inspire others.”

His PE teacher at Belle Vue Boys School, now Beckfoot Upper Heaton, was Zaffar Ahmed, who has taught there for over 20 years.

Recalling his memories of Rashid, he said: "His passion for cricket was there from an early stage.

"He was a real character and he could be a bit of a rascal but they were all lads, it was a boys school after all."

"The biggest thing is what it's done for the kids here now. 

"It's a boost for their confidence as they can see what one of their own has achieved."

Laughing, Mr Ahmed added: "I'd like to say I taught him everything he knows."

Gerry Sutcliffe, ex-Bradford South MP and former Labour Sports Minister, said: “It’s great to have Yorkshire players prominent in the England team and it would good for Yorkshire and England to beat the old enemy tomorrow.

“Bairstow and Rashid are both key players.”

Speaking about whether young Bradfordians can follow in the pair’s footsteps, Mr Sutcliffe said: “I do think the opportunities are there and if the team does well, the individuals can act as role models.

“Yorkshire are really trying to be inclusive with recruiting people from all over the county and that’s really positive.

“Adil’s background in particular acts as a great inspiration.”

Referring to the World Cup itself, Mr Sutcliffe said: “It’s a great competition but I do think cricket needs to be shown on terrestrial television.

“People need greater exposure to the game and they won’t get that unless they have Sky.”

If England do make Sunday's final it will be on free to air TV, where a wider audience can cheer on the Bradford boys (and team) to glory.