Shah, 43, is one of Middlesex’s finest limited-overs players and represented England 88 times across the white-ball formats during his playing career as well as playing in every major T20 league. He is among a select group of Englishmen to win an overseas T20 league as a coach, having led Rajshahi Royals to success in the Bangladesh Premier League in 2020, but he has found opportunities hard to come by in county cricket.
Two years ago, Shah gave a scathing interview to the Telegraph about the lack of diversity in Middlesex’s squad and among coaching staffs across the county game, describing the situation as “staggering”.
“We’ve only had a handful of people of colour in the last 20 years who have represented Middlesex,” he said. “Now there are a lot of Asian kids I know who play a lot of cricket in London. And I find it amazing that a London club doesn’t have many people coming through the ranks and representing Middlesex. At junior age group, yes, they have, but what is happening to these kids? By the time they’re 19, 20 they should be representing Middlesex – well, they’re not.”
Middlesex’s board have been conscious of their shortcomings, launching a diversity and inclusion activation plan last year and partnering with Ebony Rainford-Brent’s ACE programme last month to give further opportunities to young black cricketers, and Shah’s appointment is in keeping with their attempts to become a more inclusive club.
“I started at the club as an under-11 and played all the way through as a player until the age of 31,” Shah said in a Middlesex press release. “It is now a great honour to return to Middlesex as a coach and help the younger guys develop quicker so that we can get the club back to the top.”
Shah will work alongside Mark Ramprakash, who is already in place as Middlesex’s lead batting coach – also on a consultancy basis – throughout the T20 Blast and the Royal London Cup.
“As a player he had something really special, a real will to win and unbelievable skills in white-ball cricket to back that up,” Alan Coleman, Middlesex’s head of men’s performance cricket, said. “His record in the shorter forms of the game is exceptional and he will bring some real expertise to our white-ball coaching set-up.
“He has played in all of the world’s biggest T20 franchise tournaments, has experienced the pressures of international cricket, and is an exceptional coach who can put all these experiences to good use with our playing group, specifically the development of our young batters as they learn about the shorter formats of the game.”