Rawalpindi is generally well known for the production of fast bowlers such as Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Amir, as well as medium fast bowlers such as Yasir Arafat and Sohail Tanvir. All rounders such as Azhar Mahmood and Hammad Azam have also been developed by the Rawalpindi region.
However in 22 year old Shoaib Ahmed Minhas, Rawalpindi may have unearthed a prestigious batting talent who if his first season in domestic cricket is anything to go by could be a gem.
Here PakPassion presents it's latest entry to the Talent Spotter Section, Shoaib Ahmed Minhas.
Full name : Shoaib Ahmed Minhas
Born : August 17, 1990, Rawalpindi, Punjab
Current age : 22 years 128 days
Major teams : Federal Areas, Khan Research Laboratories,
Also known as : Shoaib Ahmed
Batting style : Right-hand bat
Bowling style : Right-arm fast-medium
Getting into Cricket
I was studying in 2005 and was playing cricket mainly with friends and family with a tennis ball. I was interested in playing cricket but the interest wasnít so serious. Like many youngsters in Pakistan I would play cricket when I had the opportunity. I played school level cricket and then when I was at college the interest in cricket grew further. There were trials held at the college I was attending for the college team and I attended the trials.
The trials went well and I was selected for the college team. I then started playing more and more cricket for my college team and working with good coaches and playing alongside and against a better standard of cricketer than I had been used to.
Rawalpindi Under 19s
Whilst I was at college in Rawalpindi the coaches at my college suggested that I should attend the Rawalpindi Under 19 trials and see if I could develop my cricket further by playing regional cricket at Under 19 level. I took on board their advice and went to the trials. Sabih Azhar and Ehtheshamuddin were the coaches supervising the trials at the Rawalpindi stadium and there were also a couple of other selectors present as well as hundreds of hopefuls. Trial matches were held and in truth I wasnít sure whether I would be spotted amongst all of the boys that were present.
However the two trial matches went well for me and I made a century in one match and a half century in the other match. Fortunately, I was named in the shortlist of 35 boys for the Under 19 Rawalpindi region.
I played for the Rawalpindi Under 19s up until the 2008/09 season and I really enjoyed my cricket at that level. One could say that my confidence grew, I became someone who had self belief in his cricket and actually realised that I could compete with the boys of my age. The Under 19 stint at Rawalpindi region really changed my approach to cricket and that was the turning point for me in that I set my heart on becoming a professional cricketer.
After the 2008/09 season I suffered a frustrating time as I was overage to play Under 19 cricket so I played some club cricket. Then trials were held in Rawalpindi for the regional team. Five teams were made and an inter district tournament was held. I was top scorer in the inter district tournament and then a Rawalpindi Under 23 tournament was held which I took part in and again I had a successful tournament there. So I ended up playing a couple of seasons for the Rawalpindi Under 23 regional team which was also a good experience. In my last season playing for Rawalpindi Under 23s I was the second highest run scorer in Pakistan in that age bracket.
I signed for KRL seven months ago. I only joined them in May of this year and this has been my first season in first class cricket. The KRL scouts had been watching me playing for Rawalpindi and they made me an offer and I had no hesitation in signing for them. They came to watch me a few times and in one particular match in Islamabad when I was playing for Rawalpindi against Islamabad I made undefeated centuries in both innings which obviously impressed them.
Iíd always wanted to play first class cricket ever since I was playing at Under 19 level and the opportunity to join KRL was one that I was not going to turn down. KRLís a very young and fresh team. There were six or seven new players at KRL this year and that helped me tremendously as we gelled really well and supported one another too.
Presidentís Trophy 2012
I couldnít have wished for a better first season in first class cricket. Batting was really tricky on the wickets we encountered and the standard of bowling was very good too. I went into the season not knowing what to expect really. I knew the standard would be high and that I would be thoroughly tested, but my mindset was to enjoy the experience, to not worry about the opposition bowlers, learn from it and then build on it for the second season.
To make 550 runs at an average of 50 was beyond my wildest expectations particularly given that it was my debut season. The innings of 177 against a very strong PIA bowling attack really boosted my confidence and it came just a time when I was a little down on confidence and runs. I wanted to make a double hundred in that match but it didnít happen, but nonetheless Iím really proud of that innings and hope that I can play many more like that in years to come.
My hero is Jacques Kallis. Heís a fantastic cricketer, so calm at the crease and just look at his record. His batting is just great to watch and heís a brilliant role model for cricketers around the world.
I feel that I can bat well in all formats and adjust my batting approach and technique to all formats. I recently played for Rawalpindi Rams in the Faysal Bank T20 tournament and made a 50 not out in one of the innings, so I think I can perform in all formats.
Areas of Improvement
Iíve been going through videos of all my innings this season with my coaches at KRL and analysing areas that we feel I need to improve upon. There are sometimes small adjustments that need to be made that you donít realise until you watch the videos. I made some mistakes in the first season and that was to be expected really but Iím hopeful that those mistakes can be eradicated with some minor changes.
Thereís no substitute for hard work and my focus will be on improving my cricket and working hard. Pakistan cricket is tough and competitive. Iím probably in the same position as hundreds of others, wanting to play for Pakistan and that is a dream that I want to turn into a reality one day.