KARACHI: Although still a teenager, Mohammad Asghar believes he is ready to serve Pakistan cricket team after being inducted as the 17th player in the national squad touring Australia.
The talented slow left-armer before departing for Brisbane — the venue of the first Test, a day-night fixture, from next Thursday — in the early hours of Sunday told Dawn that he would be proud of becoming the first Test cricketer from Balochistan to represent the country.
“That is my ultimate goal to be the first player [from Pakistan’s largest province] to play Test cricket. It will be certainly something everybody in the province in which I was born to represent the country in the highest form of international cricket,” Asghar said with a broad smile on his face.
The Chaman-born Asghar, who turns just 18 on Dec 28, is unlikely to break into the playing XI after being included as cover for first-choice Yasir Shah after the leg-spinner reported with a back problem that forced him to sit out Pakistan’s solitary practice game against a Cricket Australia XI in Cairns.
But Asghar, who has picked up 68 wickets from 17 matches since making first-class debut in December 2014, remains optimistic of his prospects of becoming a full-fledged international cricketer while admitting he is willing to bide his time.
“It [selection] is not in my hands. Whenever the tour selectors repose trust in me then my focus will be to repay their faith,” the youngster stressed. “Right now I am eagerly looking forward to getting a feel of how a Pakistan dressing room looks like and soak the pressure of international cricket from there.
“The best part of sharing the dressing room is to know at close quarters those who one generally regards as your heroes. I just can’t explain, in fact any rookie for that matter, the lifetime opportunity of interacting with a group of great individuals.
“For someone like me just sitting close to Misbah-ul-Haq, Younis Khan, Azhar Ali, Sarfraz Ahmed, Asad Shafiq, Yasir, Wahab Riaz and the rest of them will be an experience that I would always cherish for the rest of my life.”
Asghar revealed whatever he has achieved in cricket in such a brief span after making his fist-class debut at the tender age of 14 is primarily due to Ishaq Patel, a man renowned for spotting exceptionally talented players from the grassroots.
“I wouldn’t have probably chosen cricket as a profession if Ishaq sahib had not taken me under his charge. He is everything for me in life. Without his dedication, encouragement, perseverance and words of wisdom I will have not been speaking to you,” Asghar said.
“He has been my mentor from the day I first met him. I owe Ishaq sahib a huge debt without any shadow of doubt.” Asghar’s dream of touring Australia might not have realized had he been caught in the fire at the hotel where he was staying along with 10 of his United Bank Limited team-mates. But sensing imminent danger to his life, Asghar ran for safety from his room on the fourth floor around 3:30 in the morning last Monday.
courtesy : dawn news