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    Talent Spotter: Shehzar Mohammad

    Shehzar Mohammad is a 21 year-old PIA wicket-keeper batsman. Hailing from an illustrious cricketing family, he is the grandson of Pakistani batting legend Hanif Mohammad and son of former Pakistan international Shoaib Mohammad.

    In the infancy of his first-class career, to date Mohammad has played 13 first class matches, scoring four half-centuries since signing for PIA. Has also played four List A matches. Having made his first class debut in December 2009, where he top-scored with 70, he played only two games in the 2009/10 season. The following season he played four matches and in 2012/13, to date he has played 7 matches. This season has been his breakthrough season for PIA and he spoke to PakPassion about his career to date, the influence of his family and aims for the future.



    Introduction to cricket

    It runs in my family and I’ve been playing cricket since I was young. Seeing my father playing for Pakistan and my grandfather, it’s always what I wanted to do from a very young age. It’s the only thing I wanted to do in life – carry on the family tradition and InshAllah one day play [for Pakistan] myself.

    Cricket is the main topic in my house. Usually other families have other things to do, other priorities in life. Luckily I was born in a cricketing family, the Mohammad family, and every day, every night, it was always about cricket so I grew up watching it. I grew up going to cricket matches with my grandfather mostly - and seeing what he accomplished in life - like my father did, as my uncles did. I wanted to do this for myself too.

    When I was young, a lot of times when I was in England I would watch matches with my grandfather at Lords. Also in Pakistan when there used to be teams coming here, we used to go watch matches all the time.


    Favourite matches watched as a youngster

    I remember watching Australia versus Pakistan in England. I think it was a triangular series, or a four-way series between India, Pakistan, England and Australia. I remember Pakistan losing that match so it wasn’t that great a feeling! But it was still a very very good experience.

    Being in Pakistan during the 1996 World Cup, when I saw Pakistan playing in Pakistan was great. Luckily, whenever there was a team coming to tour Pakistan we used to know, because Pakistan is a country where cricket is loved the most, so basically any chance you get to watch cricket on television or at the stadium, everyone that I know pounced on the opportunity. I usually used to go watch. I’ve seen Zimbabwe play here (Pakistan), I’ve seem South Africa play here, England play here, India play here. The last time India was here, I was at the matches against them and also Sri Lanka.


    Career development

    My career only started a few years ago! I was living with my mother, studying in the States (USA). I attended high school in the States and I came back (to Pakistan) at the age of 18 to pursue cricket. I was playing cricket in the States but I knew for me to play proper cricket in Pakistan I had to come back and play in Pakistan, and leave my studies.

    Luckily when I came back after graduating high school - I was playing cricket there (USA) - I got into it fully and sacrificed a lot of things in life to come back and put my time into cricket.

    MashAllah, Allah was kind and I worked for it. Within the first year, luckily Sarfraz Ahmed the PIA wicket-keeper was gone with the Test team so there was no wicket-keeper for PIA, the first class team. So luckily they called me to play the last two matches and in both of those matches I scored two 50s in a row. I got my PIA contract that way and since then I’ve been a first-class player for PIA for the last three years. My career started off three years ago; I was getting on-and-off chances. The team actually believes in me, they want me to perform and they’re trying to groom me. I’m still learning the game so as a youngster, every opportunity I get to sit down with any of the great players for PIA or any of the other teams I really do try to make the most of it – I think I ask them way too many questions! It’s ok though as this is what I’ve been taught and this is how I can help myself in my cricketing career to go forward.

    MashAllah God has been very kind. My dad (Shoaib Mohammad) is my best friend and I’ve always been really really close to my Grandfather (Hanif Mohammad) and that helps me in my cricketing career. I’m growing up, I’m 21 now, I’m playing and playing through and trying to stay balanced between the good times and the bad times.

    What I try to do most is to work hard. That’s all in my hands. Good times come, bad times come but what’s in your hands is to work hard. That’s all I hope, that’s what I pray for, to stay fit. I will keep working hard because I know if I do work hard in the right way, Insha-Allah one day I will get the proper result.

    I’ve played 12 matches so far and scored four 50s. As a wicket-keeper batsman opening the innings it’s a little tough to do but I take it as a challenge. I really love playing in Pakistan and in the future I aim to play better cricket and try to make my cricket better in any way possible.


    On career before PIA

    I was living in Pakistan until the age of 10 or 11 and moved to the USA when my mother moved to Houston. I went there for a few years and came back to Pakistan for one summer. So I would actually play here and I felt I still had it in me to come back to Pakistan to pursue it. I came back, leaving my studies completely, because my father told me for me to play first class cricket, professional cricket, in Pakistan I would have to work twice as hard as anyone else to play at the same level. I’m trying to stay humble, work hard as much as possible and I got lucky; I got an opportunity to play and thankfully I performed which led to a contract.

    I was playing Karachi Under-19 cricket, that’s how I was selected, that’s how I got noticed. When I came back to Karachi (from the USA), I live in Karachi, the Under-19 regional and district tournaments happen and I performed in that. I went to play for Karachi Under-19 but didn’t get the opportunity. It was the same year as the Under 19 World Cup that was being played in New Zealand, that Pakistan reached the final against Australia. That was the year (2010) I was with the Under-19 team but because I was an inexperienced guy in Karachi they didn’t give me the opportunity to play for Karachi Under 19s. They let me play just one, a consolation match but I was happy that I got an opportunity. Within that time, because I did perform at under-19 level to be in that Karachi Under-19 team, PIA knew that. I practiced with the PIA academy, I used to go and practice with them, so they knew me and they needed a wicket-keeper batsman so the let me play and from there I went on to play for Karachi and then PIA.


    Difficulties in domestic cricket

    The domestic structure in Pakistan means you really have to grind it out. There are a lot of tough rules for under-23 players. For example, if you’re a department player you can’t play other tournaments. I know I wait three times a year, for three opportunities – the T20s and the one-dayers. I had an opportunity last year, I had a good start to the season but I didn’t finish that strongly but I accept the positives and negatives as a learning experience. I’m still learning the game, learning the wickets so it was a very good experience playing with the likes of Shoaib Malik and having a partnership with him once in a while and grinding it out, it’s really nice.


    Current focus

    That’s what my grandfather tells me to do. Sometimes I do think too much of what’s going to happen in the future. I’m very close to my grandfather and what he tells me to do. All I’m trying to do at the moment is enjoy life and work as hard as I can. If I do that, then I know that if it’s in my destiny or future, it will happen. All I can do is have a pure approach towards my thoughts, towards cricket, and if it’s meant to happen, it will happen I will get the best result I can get. I’m a hopeful guy!


    On playing against some of his heroes

    As a youngster playing the big league it was a little intimidating seeing all these cricketers in front of you. You always imagine yourself looking at Afridi, looking at Shoaib Akhtar, looking at all these players but then being in the same leagues such as the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy. Of course they don’t play now, but this is where they played and some still are playing – playing against Younis Khan and all these cricketers is enjoyable. If you take it positively, it leaves you a lot of good memories. Anything in life you have to enjoy for it to get better, that’s my motto in life.


    On the importance of patience

    I’m enjoying it more now than I did before, as maybe now I have a history in Pakistan now after I’ve started living in Pakistan and history in my own cricketing abilities. In my first few matches I was eager to get it done then, I was thinking too much, just wanted to finish it off, wanted to perform just to play the next level. You have to be patient with your game.


    On a youngster playing domestic cricket

    I think I was brought into domestic at the right age, to see what this cricket is. Domestic cricket in Pakistan is very difficult. We don’t use a Kookaburra ball, we use a Grays ball in Pakistan, with the seam that never finishes. Domestic cricket in Pakistan is very bowler friendly; it’s an experience. If you work here and put in the right time and stay patient, things will come if you practice the right way. Before in my life, maybe I was impatient but I’m now very happy with here I am right now but despite being blessed and lucky, I need to work hard to play at a better level and perform in the domestic circuit so I can play even better cricket.

    Having these opinions from my grandfather helps me out, keeps me sane. I’d say he is my coach, he is my mentor. That’s what I’m trying to do, to follow his footsteps and do what the right thing is. If I think too much – you can’t control yourself – but at the same time, you try your best at everything you do and hope that when it’s your day you make the most out of it.


    Influence of father and grandfather

    I’d say my father is more like a friend to me, and my grandfather is a best friend to me. It’s not like a father-son relationship. It’s very open. My grandfather tells me always, just don’t think too much. He just tells me just play the game, enjoy the game. He says that when he played for Pakistan, when he was a schoolboy before he was selected for Pakistan, he didn’t care about playing for Pakistan at that time, he just wanted to enjoy the cricket he was playing. If he was playing school cricket, he just wanted to enjoy playing school cricket and make the most out of it and that automatically made him play better first-class cricket. He then began enjoying first-class cricket, which he performed in and automatically went on to play for Pakistan. Don’t think of what’s in front of you, live in the present which you can do right now and play well and automatically the next stage will come to you naturally.

    My father is a bit stricter with me. He just wants me to keep on working hard. I never saw my grandfather play but from what I saw of my father though and what I’ve heard about my father, he was a very humble guy when it came to playing cricket., very stubborn at the crease and he said all he did was to work hard, don’t give your wicket away. His main focus is “you have to work hard, whether you are batting at the crease, whether you’re keeping, it’s an all-round game.” For me especially, he says “for you to play better cricket, you have to work twice as hard in comparison to everyone else, for you to play at that level, so no critics have anything to say to you.”

    When I came back, that was the first thing he said to me. I did wonder what he meant by that, but now with time I’m getting what he’s saying. I know for me to play the next step I have to work ten times as hard. Not because I’m not as good as anyone, but me I should not get any questions from anyone else. He says to be the best you can be, you have to work doubly hard to reach that level so everyone talks about you. That’s a snapshot of the lecture I get once in a while from my father, but it’s important because I try to get attention. I really do want to make my family’s name proud again. I love being in this family and I never lost sight of who I am or where I was from.


    Favourite players and role models

    I love watching Shane Watson play. He’s an all-round cricketer, with his physique, with his ability as an all-rounder, I love the way he plays.

    I would also say AB de Villiers because he’s so versatile. He really knows his game and he’s a really good role model.

    These guys, they’re really good on-field, but they’re really good off-field too. It’s both ways – for you to be good on the field, you have to give back to the community and work hard outside of cricket - what you do for the people around you. Reading about AB de Villiers, I love watching him play. Shane Watson is my favourite player so I try to watch him religiously.

    Those are my two favourite players. I would say my role model would be my father, for what he was and who he is now but what can I say? I’ve been brought up in a very nice household, I don’t need a bigger role model than my grandfather.

    I also like Ian Bell, who has the best technique I’ve seen playing on the circuit right now but you can’t really copy anyone, you have to play your own game.


    On his batting style

    Naturally trying to be defensive comes with the tradition but now that the game is changing so much you have to adapt. One-day cricket, even Test match cricket has become a little bit faster. I’m still learning the game; I wouldn’t say that I’m one-dimensional player, I’m not. I have the ability to play and perform in every single form of cricket. I guess I’d say I’m versatile, depending on the situation, depending on what the team ask for I will try to play the best that I can be.


    Favourite Ground

    Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore. Lovely setting for a cricket ground.



    Toughest bowler faced

    Sohail Tanvir. It was the conditions he was bowling in this season, with the balls he was using - it was a beauty to watch. It was a beauty to play against it, it was a beauty to watch. Watching the ball move both ways, it was my first time playing him too. He’s known as one of the most dangerous bowlers on the circuit even now. It was amusing and a really good challenge to play against him to see how well he does. Hopefully next time I’ll get the best of him.


    Hobbies outside cricket

    To relax, I love working out. That’s the best stress reliever there can be. Besides that, I’m into music a lot. I’m also studying law now, trying to get back into my studies.
    Last edited by Shayan; 8th March 2013 at 16:21.


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  2. #2
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    I'm surprised he doesn't ever mention Adam Gilchrist

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    Good luck to him, perhaps he can be the one that solves our keeper-batsman problem in Tests.



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    Hope he does well, he is technically correct and inshallah next season will really kick on. Definitely has the talent

  5. #5
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    At PakPassion we will speak to many upcoming players who have done something of note or we have been told have talent.

    We cannot interview each and every player but if you have a suggestion, let us know via MRR.


    For the latest updates on Cricket, follow @PakPassion on Twitter

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    Quote Originally Posted by MenInG View Post
    At PakPassion we will speak to many upcoming players who have done something of note or we have been told have talent.

    We cannot interview each and every player but if you have a suggestion, let us know via MRR.
    On a more serious note, you should actually list the players who were highlighted as potential greats and where they are now. In England, for example, if they pointed out Mark Ilott in early 1990s as a decent player, he at least went on to play test cricket. Here we are relying totally on the shows these players put up on the Pakistani domestic scene which has no merit. For example, Sohail Khan was a national record breaker but is not even considered worth discussing on this forum.

    So what is the basis of these recommendations?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by kamranwasti View Post
    On a more serious note, you should actually list the players who were highlighted as potential greats and where they are now. In England, for example, if they pointed out Mark Ilott in early 1990s as a decent player, he at least went on to play test cricket. Here we are relying totally on the shows these players put up on the Pakistani domestic scene which has no merit. For example, Sohail Khan was a national record breaker but is not even considered worth discussing on this forum.

    So what is the basis of these recommendations?
    Perfectly valid question and thanks for asking that.

    Its simply a case of word of mouth type recommendations from ppers, players or people who know players themselves.

    We have a long list of players who we also identify from their performances during the domestic season - it takes a long time to track them down and arrange interviews.

    Like I suggested, if people have some suggestions they should post in MRR and we will put them on our list

    As for list of talents who we have interviewed before, look no further than our TS section on homepage

    http://www.pakpassion.net/talent-spotter

    You will see a list of some well known names in there and you can decide for yourself as to how they have done.


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    Quote Originally Posted by kamranwasti View Post
    On a more serious note, you should actually list the players who were highlighted as potential greats and where they are now. In England, for example, if they pointed out Mark Ilott in early 1990s as a decent player, he at least went on to play test cricket. Here we are relying totally on the shows these players put up on the Pakistani domestic scene which has no merit. For example, Sohail Khan was a national record breaker but is not even considered worth discussing on this forum.

    So what is the basis of these recommendations?
    Kamran as you can see if you go to the Talent Spotter section - http://www.pakpassion.net/talent-spotter there are a number of guys who have gone on to play for Pakistan, some have done very well and some unfortunately have not done so well.

    It's impossible for us or anyone to predict how their futures will develop. I guess it's down to the player's luck and how much they improve.

    When we do the talent spotter interviews, we sometimes receive recommendations from coaches, other players, ex players. On other occasions it's a case of looking at domestic records and seeing how well they are doing at junior level cricket.



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    Quote Originally Posted by kamranwasti View Post
    On a more serious note, you should actually list the players who were highlighted as potential greats and where they are now. In England, for example, if they pointed out Mark Ilott in early 1990s as a decent player, he at least went on to play test cricket. Here we are relying totally on the shows these players put up on the Pakistani domestic scene which has no merit. For example, Sohail Khan was a national record breaker but is not even considered worth discussing on this forum.

    So what is the basis of these recommendations?
    I would be keen to hear your ideas of which players should be approached for the talent spotter section. PP are doing a great job as a fan based website, but ppers never seem happy.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by MenInG View Post
    At PakPassion we will speak to many upcoming players who have done something of note or we have been told have talent.

    We cannot interview each and every player but if you have a suggestion, let us know via MRR.
    It would be better to watch them play first before interviewing the,


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    Quote Originally Posted by kamranwasti View Post
    On a more serious note, you should actually list the players who were highlighted as potential greats and where they are now. In England, for example, if they pointed out Mark Ilott in early 1990s as a decent player, he at least went on to play test cricket. Here we are relying totally on the shows these players put up on the Pakistani domestic scene which has no merit. For example, Sohail Khan was a national record breaker but is not even considered worth discussing on this forum.

    So what is the basis of these recommendations?
    One qts though if domestic has no merit then where do u suggest we get the players? Whether domestic is good or not its the only place where one has to perform and get into team. The days of Imran Khan, miandad etc picking some guys from the crowd and have them play for Pak are long gone. Its heartening to see that system is finally been put in place domestic performance will lead to national duty, system might not be perfect and a need 4 spotting talent and backing without much domestic performance ala Mohammad Amir still dere but atleast system is in place to improve not to discard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sunnykhan View Post
    It would be better to watch them play first before interviewing the,
    And who would u suggest does that. Ppl have different opinions. It's a talent spotter section, so upcoming and emerging cricketers will be chosen.

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    Looking at the stats he doesn't seem to be anything special. No offense but if it wasn't for his pedigree I doubt this interview would be taking place. Still time to prove me wrong


    "Last time Uganda toured Canada, half their team ran away to start a new life" - cricfan967

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    Quote Originally Posted by sunnykhan View Post
    It would be better to watch them play first before interviewing the,
    You pay for our flights and 5 star hotel costs to cover the domestic matches that some of these younger players play in and we'll do it.

    Is that a deal?

    Also I think you are struggling to comprehend what the section stands for. It's about young up and coming players that MAY do well in cricket in future. Some WILL make it, some WONT make it. We cannot guarantee that any player that we interview in the Talent Spotter will go on and play for Pakistan.
    Last edited by Saj; 10th March 2013 at 08:04.



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    From his stats he should not be anywhere near the PIA team. I know people love dynasties in our part of the world but if he wasn`t part of the Mohammed Clan, would he be playing for PIA?
    Last edited by Bewal Express; 10th March 2013 at 10:26.

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    he lives around, he practices at local nets, but has long way to go... needs at least 2-3 years more then maybe he can break into the national team

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    stats are pretty ordinary TBH

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    Quote Originally Posted by murphyslaw79 View Post
    I would be keen to hear your ideas of which players should be approached for the talent spotter section. PP are doing a great job as a fan based website, but ppers never seem happy.
    For starters, I do not class myself as a PPer. I visit occasionally and post. That's all.

    I have been reading through these write-ups for a while now but Shoaib's son getting posted made me write because as pakistanigoneaussie wrote, this has more to do with his lineage than cricketing prowess. For now, he does not qualify either as a wicketkeeper or as a batsman. That's all. In fact, I was reminded of Azmat Rana who once had rave reviews about his son Usman in an interview with either the Cricketer (Urdu) or Akhbar-e-Watan. Ironically, I used to play cricket with him and even as a 13-year-old, I knew that a slow leg-cutter (he was a left-hander and three years younger) would bowl him through the gate or off the inside edge (the makeshift rebar wicket was always big enough).

    A better idea would be for someone to go through domestic cricket websites and analyse how they follow domestic cricket and then pick players out of them. Michael Clarke, for example, had an average of 30-odd when he made his test debut and there were many domestic legends like spin-bowlers Raja Sarfraz, Raja Afaq and Haris Khan who had exceptional records but were never considered good enough for international cricket.

  19. #19
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    Talent Spotter: Shehzar Mohammad

    I have played against the kid here in the US. Best of luck to him in future.


    totay totay ker dian gaaa!!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by kamranwasti View Post
    In fact, I was reminded of Azmat Rana who once had rave reviews about his son Usman in an interview with either the Cricketer (Urdu) or Akhbar-e-Watan. Ironically, I used to play cricket with him and even as a 13-year-old, I knew that a slow leg-cutter (he was a left-hander and three years younger) would bowl him through the gate or off the inside edge (the makeshift rebar wicket was always big enough).
    Bit of a stretch that comparison.

    For a start this isn't an interview with the father or grandfather, rather an interview with the actual player.

    Secondly, I don't hear Shehzar "raving" about himself or his ability, just his need to work hard - continue working hard - and acknowledgement of the importance of continuing to learn.

    Quote Originally Posted by kamranwasti View Post
    A better idea would be for someone to go through domestic cricket websites and analyse how they follow domestic cricket and then pick players out of them.

    Michael Clarke, for example, had an average of 30-odd when he made his test debut and there were many domestic legends like spin-bowlers Raja Sarfraz, Raja Afaq and Haris Khan who had exceptional records but were never considered good enough for international cricket.
    So we should ignore the likes of Raja Sarfraz, Raja Afaq or Haris Khan? And who is to say given the right opportunities they couldn't have been good enough for international cricket? I think you have too much faith in the PCB's selection committee, both the current one and those holding positions on the committee over the years.

    If a player like Fawad Alam is never selected for Pakistan again, one who scored 168 on debut and an impressive domestic record, is he not good enough for international cricket? Or is it a weakness in selection policy? Where does Imran Farhat sit on your domestic players "considered good enough for international" scale?

    PakPassion Talent Spotter achieves it's objectives, which is to have a chat with young cricketers playing in Pakistan.


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  21. #21
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    Like the way Shehzar emphasises the importance of hard work. Seems like a very positive dude.

    Acknowledges it isn't easy to establish yourself in domestic cricket, let alone the national side.


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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by SOSami View Post
    Like the way Shehzar emphasises the importance of hard work. Seems like a very positive dude.

    Acknowledges it isn't easy to establish yourself in domestic cricket, let alone the national side.
    He is hardworking and very passionate but I also think the fact he did not play cricket in his formative years in Pakistan will be a big handicap. He learnt the ropes in our local league here in Texas and while he was one of the best here, I believe he faces much stiffer competition in Pakistan while vying for a spot in the national team as a keeper batsman.


    totay totay ker dian gaaa!!!!

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  24. #24
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    the upcoming ishtar with another grand zero in the current game.

    Last 5 scores 0,0 ,26,8,18

  25. #25
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    His role models aren't Pakistan players, he looks up to Bell, de Villiers and Watson so therefore he indeed has a good future if he continues to keep his head straight.

    I couldn't care less about domestic stats.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mamoon_ View Post
    His role models aren't Pakistan players, he looks up to Bell, de Villiers and Watson so therefore he indeed has a good future if he continues to keep his head straight.

    I couldn't care less about domestic stats.
    I look up to these players aswell does that mean I have a good future. He averages 14 for the season as an opening bat and for od's the averages drops to 8. The only reason he is in the side is his father is a GM of the domestic side he plays for.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xoib View Post
    I look up to these players aswell does that mean I have a good future. He averages 14 for the season as an opening bat and for od's the averages drops to 8. The only reason he is in the side is his father is a GM of the domestic side he plays for.
    If you were a 21 year old playing domestic cricket and has scored a few half centuries, you'd have had a future had you worked hard.

    I look up to the Alexander the great but I cannot be a conqueror like him if I'm not in the business

    He is in the business so he is headed in the right direction and has the right Grandpa to nurture him.

    Fawad Alam and Sarfraz Ahmed are prime examples of why FC stats don't mean anything.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mamoon_ View Post
    If you were a 21 year old playing domestic cricket and has scored a few half centuries, you'd have had a future had you worked hard.

    I look up to the Alexander the great but I cannot be a conqueror like him if I'm not in the business

    He is in the business so he is headed in the right direction and has the right Grandpa to nurture him.

    Fawad Alam and Sarfraz Ahmed are prime examples of why FC stats don't mean anything.
    I will not put Fawad in this list first let him fail before labeling him a failure. The likes of Ajmal, Misbah, Rehman gives me hope that all is not wrong with our domestic cricket there are some cricketers that are just not cut for the top level and it can happen anywhere its not Pakistan centeric Ramparkash, Badrinath, Khawaja are some examples.

    And a guy who averages 14 on the FC circuit facing Cheema and Tanveer's will not magically start averging 41 when he faces the likes of Steyn.

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    I am not saying he will develop into a great player.

    My point is, don't write him off unless you have seen him play yourself.

    You can still be a good batsman even if you suck against Cheema early days into your domestic career.

  30. #30
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    I have no wish to watch a bloke bat that is never dropped from his side despite averaging 14 for the season can feel for his team mates he must be poisonous for the dressing room morale no wonder PIA is having one of its worst seasons.

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    How disheartening must it be for a player from a poor background to sit on the sidelines, whilst the son of the coach gets a free ride. Even a tail end player would be embarrassed by those terrible stats. It is blatant nepotism and both should be sacked.

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    Talent Spotter: Shehzar Mohammad

    Corruption and nepotism at PIA Sports is old news. Shoaib Mohammad has been guilty of it for years now. First he prolonged his own career by playing well into the 40s, and now this.

    Gone are the days when Dr. Jehangir Khan resigned as selector when his son Majid Khan came close to national selection.


    Tumhari yaad ke jab zakhm bharne lagte hein
    Kisi bahaaney tumhein yaad karne lagte hein

    -- Faiz

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