The Pakistan U19 all-rounder spoke about his career and his aspirations
by Saj Sadiq (19th September 2013)
Talent Spotter : Kamran Ghulam
Full name: Kamran Ghulam
Born: October 10, 1995, Upper Dir, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province
Major teams: Abbottabad Falcons, Pakistan Under-19s
Batting style: Right-hand bat
Bowling style: Slow left-arm orthodox
Getting Into cricket
I’ve not had any family members who went on to play cricket at a professional level. Many of my relatives have played club cricket and the interest in cricket started at a young age. I’d go out onto the streets at every opportunity from a young age to play with my friends and anybody else who was around at the time looking for a game of cricket. Like a lot of children in Pakistan we’d be playing cricket in any park or open space.
I was a bit of a local legend in tape ball cricket (laughs). It suited the way I played and we’d get large crowds of people coming to watch our team play against all comers. I learnt a lot from playing tape ball cricket and I feel that it’s really helped me so far in my introduction to cricket.
I was in my own little world playing tape ball cricket in the local parks and streets, but some members of my family said to my brothers that they should take me to Peshawar and attend the trials. A lot of people were impressed with what I was doing in street and tape ball cricket and therefore suggested that I should perhaps take my cricket more seriously. I went for the trials in Peshawar and the coaches and senior players were impressed and accepted me and gave me a chance. At first I really struggled, as this cricket was much more competitive and well organised compared with what I had been used to, but after taking some time to settle down things started to improve and with the help of the coaching staff I started to score runs and take wickets.
District and Regional Trials
I come from Dir district and that falls under the Abbottabad region. After playing club cricket in Peshawar I decided to attend the Under 19 trials for Dir district and thankfully I did well at the trials and managed to make some runs and take some wickets in the trial matches.
The following year I attended the Under 19 Abbottabad trials and once again things went well. I managed to perform well under the supervision of the Abbottabad coaching staff and I was selected for the Abbottabad Under 19 team.
Pakistan Under 19s
As is the case in Pakistan if you are performing well in regional Under 19 cricket then word spreads so the national selectors came to watch me and a few other boys playing for Abbottabad. They watched a few of the matches that I played in and were impressed. I attended the pre England tour trials in Lahore earlier this year when more than 30 boys were invited. I made the cut for the England tour and hopefully I can become a regular member of the Pakistan Under 19 squad.
Batsman who became an all rounder
I started my career as a batsman. Batting was always my strength and it was what I felt I was good at. However I was encouraged to bowl left arm spin and in recent times I feel that my bowling has really improved. In fact so much so, that most of my coaches and team mates feel that I’m now in the genuine all rounder category.
Under 19 tour of England
It really gave me and the other boys great exposure. I wasn’t sure how the wickets would be in England and I wasn’t certain of a starting spot but thanks to the Almighty the tour went very well with bat and ball for me.
We started slowly but gained momentum in England. I really enjoyed playing there, the facilities were excellent and the pitches were ideal for me. The ball spun and I enjoyed batting on such true surfaces. It was a great tour for the squad and we definitely learnt a lot as individuals and as a group. So much so, that when I came back to Pakistan I played Under 19 district matches and hit centuries in both matches.
That will have to be the one and only Ravindra Jadeja. I like his competitive edge and the brand of cricket that he plays. His attitude is exceptional and the game is never lost when he’s got the ball or the bat in his hand.
First Class Cricket
I’ve played five List A matches so far for Abbottabad Falcons, in between playing regional and district cricket, but the aim is now to sign for ZTBL and start playing first class cricket this season. The deal to sign with ZTBL is nearly done, so hopefully once everything is sorted I’ll be playing for them in the upcoming domestic season. I think first class cricket is a tough environment and an environment where only the best cricketers survive. I’m looking forward to the challenges it will present.
Ongoing Training Camp at the NCA
I’m really enjoying the camp. It’s a fantastic opportunity to play and train alongside some players who have played international cricket and to work with some of the best coaches in Pakistan. You have to make the most of these opportunities and to learn, to work hard and to use these chances to better yourself as a cricketer.
I want to continue to improve at Under 19 level and then to establish myself for ZTBL. I’ve set myself the goal of playing for Pakistan in the next 50-over World Cup after 2015. I know that’s a tough challenge but one that I hope I can achieve.