What's My Career Record: Sarfraz Ahmed

Sarfaraz Ahmed, a beloved overseas player in the Bradford League, left a lasting legacy during his 16 seasons with Woodlands. His infectious smile and charismatic personality endeared him to fans and opponents alike.

Known for his explosive sixes, even former England skipper Ray Illingworth was impressed by his power. Sarfaraz Ahmed’s records indicate he joined Woodlands in 2001 as a relatively unknown cricketer but he became a household name by his final match in the 2016 Priestley Cup final victory over Pudsey St Lawrence.

During this time, he claimed 787 wickets at an impressive average of 14.65 and contributed 4,538 runs despite batting lower down the order.

Expertise in Huge Sixes

Sarfaraz's speciality was hitting massive sixes. Woodland's secretary Brian Pearson recalled a visit to Farsley when former England skipper Ray Illingworth, a renowned judge of cricket, proclaimed that he had never seen anyone hit the ball as far or as hard in the Bradford League.

Arrival and Recognition in 2001

When Sarfaraz Ahmed joined Woodlands as they entered the Bradford League in 2001, he was relatively unknown. However, by the time he played his farewell match – the 2016 Priestley Cup final victory over Pudsey St Lawrence – everyone knew "Saffy."

The guard of honour formed by players from both teams as he left the field for the last time, along with the standing ovation from the crowd, served as ringing endorsements of the tremendous impact he had made in 16 glorious seasons.

During that period, he took 787 wickets at an impressive average of 14.65. Despite batting in the lower order, he scored 4,538 runs at an average of 22.58.

Exceptional Debut Season 

Sarfaraz's best wicket haul and his highest individual score came in his debut season when Woodlands won Division Two on their first attempt. Sarfaraz Ahmed’s records exemplify how he secured 80 wickets at an outstanding average of 10.69 and scored his only Bradford League century, an unbeaten 111, averaging 60.67.

Consistency and Success 

His performance in the following seasons was equally remarkable. Sarfaraz Ahmed surpassed 50 wickets in each of his first three seasons in the top flight and clinched 71 wickets as Woodlands pipped Pudsey Congs for the title on the final day of the 2005 season.

Woodlands' consistent success continued, winning four consecutive titles, the league, the Priestley Cup, and the Black Sheep Yorkshire Champions Trophy in 2006. They also achieved a double in 2007. Sarfaraz Ahmed and Pieter Swanepoel formed a formidable new-ball pairing for Woodlands, backed up by Chris Brice's left-arm spin.

Fond Farewell in 2016

In 2015, Sarfaraz Ahmed missed the Heavy Woollen Cup final due to injury but had earlier contributed to his medal collection. When he left Woodlands in 2016, the 105-run Priestley Cup final win marked a fitting end to his illustrious career with the club. 

As he departed for Pakistan, he carried 13 medals as mementos: six League winners' medals, two Priestley Cup winners' medals, two Black Sheep winners' medals, two Heavy Woollen Cup winners' medals, and one Division Two winners' medal.

Brian Pearson, reflecting on Sarfraz's popularity and impact at Woodlands, humorously noted that while Sarfraz Ahmed mentioned the possibility of returning to bowl, many batsmen would likely breathe a sigh of relief at the thought of it being a jest.

What made Sarfraz Ahmed popular among fans? 
Sarfraz's infectious smile and charismatic personality endeared him to fans and opponents alike.
What was Sarfraz Ahmed's specialty in the field?
Sarfraz Ahmed’s records showcase that he was known for his ability to hit explosive sixes, impressing even cricketing legends like Ray Illingworth.
How did Sarfraz Ahmed's career with Woodlands conclude? 
His career with Woodlands ended with a memorable victory in the 2016 Priestley Cup final against Pudsey St Lawrence.
What were Sarfraz Ahmed's cricketing achievements during his 16 seasons with Woodlands? 
He took 787 wickets at an average of 14.65 and scored 4,538 runs despite batting lower in the order.