Fifteen-year-old Farhan Ahmed won’t have to look far for inspiration when he boards the plane for South Africa this month.
As part of the England Men U19 World Cup squad, the Nottinghamshire off-spinner will say goodbye to school for three weeks and jet off to face Scotland, South Africa, and West Indies in what promises to be a hugely competitive group.
But in 2022, older brother Rehan - who has since gone on to play for the England Men's senior side - took 12 wickets at the same event, and after a lifetime of learning from him, Farhan won’t be stopping anytime soon.
“Rehan’s told me just to enjoy it,” he says. “You’ll always have a bit of nerves, but I’ve got to go out there and try to do as much as I can.
“We all started playing really young. My dad and older brothers are massive influences. Rehan’s played at international level. Raheem [Farhan and Rehan's older brother, who has played for Nottinghamshire 2nd XI] has just got so much knowledge. And my dad has coached us all through our development. I’ve played with him a couple of times at Cavaliers and Carrington CC, which has helped a lot.
“There was even one game where all four of us played together – and between us we took all 10 wickets. Raheem got four, I got three, and Rehan got three. The entire wicket column just said Ahmed, which was very cool.”
Understandably, the whole family is proud of Farhan’s burgeoning career. England Test leg-spinner Rehan was among the first to congratulate his younger brother.
Rehan says: “Farhan’s done very, very well for himself. As a family, playing for England together is something we’ve always dreamed of. So it’s nice to see him in the pathway quite early.
“There are always battles between us brothers. We’re all trying to get better, but it’s all healthy. We all still live together, so we just jump out and play whenever we can. If it’s raining, we just get a wind ball, throw it on the tiles and try to hit each other.”
He adds: “Farhan’s very good and he’s always trying to go forward in the game. His mindset has also changed, which is great.
“But family’s the most important thing in life. Being away for a couple of months, you really prioritise family time when you’re back. We all enjoy each other’s company and want the best for each other.”
Farhan was quick to reiterate those thoughts. “My dad’s been a top coach all the way through my journey,” he says. “But credit needs to go to my mum as well. All that behind-the-scenes stuff: getting up early on matchdays and getting everything ready. It’s a big sacrifice.
“And after seeing what Rehan’s achieved, me and Raheem - who plays for Nottinghamshire - are just striving towards that now. We’d love to play for England together.”
First, though, is the small matter of a World Cup tournament that will see England aim to go one better than the runner-up spot they achieved in 2022.
“I’m so excited for it,” says Farhan. “It’s such a good opportunity and something I’ve really wanted to do. I’m still young, so it’s hard to believe how fast it’s all happening, but I’m just very grateful for the opportunities I’ve been. Hopefully I can take them!”