“It’s a nice thing to do that – he is still the humble person that he always was all those years ago before playing for England,” said Dr Afzal. “It almost made up for the stress of the pandemic. Particularly as Chris and I are both from the same club – it was just that much nicer.”
Last year, Dr Afzal did a pilot project through the National Asian Cricket Council to encourage South Asian female patients to play cricket.
“I think the whole initiative was really good from the ECB because obviously the last few months have been a tough time for doctors,” she said. “We’ve been quite anxious and stressed so when you are a big cricket fan, which I am, to have the ECB appreciating you through the gesture and having your name on the shirt, it made my day. It probably made my year actually.”
All key workers honoured will receive the shirt bearing their name, signed by the player who wore it, to thank them for the work they’ve been doing.
“They’re going to send me the training top which I’m looking forward to,” said Dr Afzal. “Chris is a bit bigger than me so I will frame it and put it either in my clinic or at home.”
But she had one burning question. “I couldn’t understand why Ben Stokes decided to bat first in these conditions.”