Amjad remains focused on England call
Kent seamer Amjad Khan will take the next step towards achieving his goal of playing for England when he travels to India with the England Performance Programme squad later this week.
The Denmark-born paceman is among an initial 15-man party for the month-long trip to the subcontinent, augmented by England spinner Monty Panesar and former Test captain Michael Vaughan.
Amjad travelled to India with the England academy two years ago where he suffered a career-threatening knee injury that saw him miss the whole of the 2007 domestic campaign.
The 28-year-old returned to action this season, taking 21 wickets in six LV County Championship Division One matches. He also appeared in three NatWest Pro40 Division Two games.
Amjad, speaking exclusively to ECBtv at the National Centre Performance Centre in Loughborough, has clear memories of the injury that struck as he was pushing for a full England call-up.
“I was running into bowl and I felt something click and I went back and tried to have another bowl but couldn't even run after that,” he said.
“We sort of played around with it for a couple of weeks and it swelled up. I had a feeling I was in trouble.”
He added: “It was devastating obviously because I was close to everything then, reaching my ambition of playing for England.
“I think my initial reaction was disappointment, pretty sad. A couple of months down the line all I thought about was getting fit and getting back to where I was because there was a chance I wouldn't achieve that.
“Every day you have to battle with yourself, convince yourself you'll be all right. It`s a great feeling coming back and bowling being on the level with the other players so it`s turning out to be a pretty decent story.”
Amjad, who had been awarded British citizenship in December 2006, was ruled out for nine months during which he painstakingly worked his way back to full fitness.
“It was such a serious injury that I've spent a year and a half getting back from it so I give it a little bit of thought every day, but at the same time I'm really happy with where I'm at now so it`s exciting to go back,” he said.
“It will be hard work. We've done a lot of work over the last two weeks to prepare ourselves for that and I think we're all pretty ready to get out there and get cracking.”
He added: “There were times when it hurt, tough rehab sessions, driving up and down to Loughborough all the time.
“You know, at the back of my mind, there was a chance that I might not be able to do it again.”
Amjad's frequent trips to Loughborough involved working with ECB physiotherapists Craig Ranson and Steve McCaig, performance director David Parsons and fast bowling coach Kevin Shine.
“I owe them a hell of a lot. All of them: Craig, Steve, DP, Shiney. They were all really helpful in helping me where I wanted to be,” he said.
“So I think from the rehab point of view I couldn't have do it any better. It's exciting now I can put that kind of stuff behind me and talk about performance.”
He added: “I kept in touch with everyone here. Obviously I wanted to do really well for Kent and do great things for Kent and I sort of thought, if I can do that and regain the form I had before then there's every chance.”
Following more hard work last winter, Amjad was ready to return to competitive action. However, the ECB and Kent ensured he was eased back even though he was raring to go.
“Other people were more worried than I was. Everyone was trying to hold me back a little bit just to build into it.
“I just wanted to get firing and bowl as fast as I can so, I think, the first couple of months people were trying to hold me back, but the latter part of the season - the last couple of months - I was more or less back to where I was before the injury.”
Amjad now heads to India confident the EPP can be the next chapter in his recovery.
“Everything is going in the right direction. We set ourselves goals. I've got my own individual goal I`m working towards with Shiney and DP so the next four weeks hopefully I'll make big strides towards that.”