Where are they now: Gemaal Hussain
Today sees the return of our Where Are They Now feature.
Over the next few months we will be catching up with former Somerset players to see where their career took them after leaving the Club.
Today we catch up with former Somerset fast bowler Gemaal Hussain.
Gemaal joined Somerset ahead of the 2011 season from Gloucestershire alongside Steve Kirby who also made the short move down the M5 that winter. The previous summer Gemaal had been in fine form, claiming 67 wickets for the Division Two side at an impressive average of 23.24.
“I think Steve and I came together with the vision of trying to impact the season in a positive way and hopefully to win some silverware as well,” he explained when we spoke to him this week. “Unfortunately, things didn’t turn out that way.”
Gemall got off to a good start for Somerset, taking six for 33 against Worcestershire. However, he finished the season with a total of 22 wickets that year before injury curtailed his opportunities the following year.
Despite the fact that things didn’t go as he had hoped, he still has fond memories of his time in Taunton.
“I’ve thought about it a lot over the years and the experience at Somerset was amazing,” he said. “It was an absolute privilege to put on that shirt every time and I have some good memories of my time there.
“The main difference between Somerset and Gloucestershire was that Gloucestershire were my first county club and I was just happy to be on the park playing First Class cricket. There were no real expectations.
“When I came to Somerset there were expectations given the season that I’d had at Gloucestershire. I therefore felt more pressure because of that but it was a very exciting time. In hindsight I think it may have been just a little bit of a step too far in terms of standard because the cricket was very tough in Division One. I learned a lot whilst I was there, and it was a really good experience which allowed me to learn more about myself as well.
“We started the season well and I started to pick up some rhythm midway through the season, but I went over on my ankle in fielding practice and fractured it which meant that I missed the second half of that season. Every player knows that you can get injured but that doesn’t stop you being frustrated when it happens. I was so keen to make an impact and do well that it was doubly frustrating.
“My time at Somerset enabled me to share a dressing room with some legends of the game and some future superstars like Jos Buttler and Jack Leach. Not many people can say they’ve shared a dressing room with those guys and the likes of Marcus Trescothick, Nick Compton and Craig Kieswetter. I was very lucky in that sense and with some of the friendships that I made there. Although it was a frustrating time, I definitely took away a lot of good memories.”
What has Gemaal been doing since leaving the Club?
“After leaving Somerset my mind frame was that I wanted to continue playing,” he said. “I went back to Nottingham, which is my home town, and played a little bit there. I was back trialling again. I’d been trialling for a number of years before signing for Gloucestershire and all of a sudden, I found myself being a trialist at Northants. I thought it went pretty well there but nothing happened in terms of a contract.
“When it got to 2015/16 I started to question whether or not anything was actually going to happen but I persevered because I was still very ambitious and keen to put things right. I think perhaps I pushed myself a bit too hard because if you are not within the professional environment but still continue to push yourself with the same workloads you tend to pick up niggling injuries, which is what happened to me.
“Towards the end of 2016 I was struggling physically, and I had other responsibilities. You can’t just focus on yourself 24/7. I was married with a young family and I needed to support them.
Whilst I was playing and trialling, I did my coaching qualifications and I was really interested in Strength & Conditioning. I’ve always been interested in fitness and I wanted to do something with my time, so I got some qualifications.
“I used to return to Pakistan during the winter when I was playing, and I have good memories of the country. I saw a vacancy on the Pakistan website for the role of S&C Coach for the Pakistan Women’s team by chance and I knew that there was an abundance of talent within the country. It looked like a really interesting opportunity and I thought that I could maybe make quite a difference.
“I think many players feel like they lose their identity when they retire and I felt that was happening to me a little bit, so to have an opportunity to represent Pakistan on a national level was really exciting, so I applied for the job. I was shortlisted, had the interview and they then gave me the position. It’s obviously a big change in lifestyle but it’s been fantastic from day one.
“It’s great to see what the players that I’m working with have achieved. They are very passionate about the game, very hard working, very patriotic and their work ethic is outstanding. It’s a pleasure to work with someone like Sana Mir. She has been involved in the game for a long time and the players have a huge amount of respect for her.
“I think the women’s game over here is on the cusp of something big. We’ve had some good results recently against the West Indies and South Africa, Sana Mir is ranked as the third best bowler in the world by the ICC and Nida Dar has become the first Pakistani cricketer to be involved in the Big Bash. This will all help to bring some positive publicity to the women’s game. We are beginning to see the results of a lot of hard work now, which is great because Pakistan certainly isn’t short when it comes to natural ability. That ability just needs to be nurtured.”
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