LANDI KOTAL, 08 February: Khyber Agency has contributed best players to national cricket team who represented the country at national and international levels.
To begin with, star all-rounder Shahid Afridi has earned lot of laurels for the country. Fast bowlers Umar Gul, Riaz Afridi and Usman Shinwari also represented Pakistan at international. The latest addition to the list is the talented and energetic Shaheen Shah Afridi, who has been recently included by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in its dream under-19 team.
Younger brother of former cricketer Riaz Afridi, Shaheen has grabbed the attention of selectors and other great cricketers including former captain of Pakistan cricket team, Wasim Akram.
Wasim Akram has once complimented that Shaheen would fill the vacuum that was created after he bid farewell to international cricket.
Shaheen represented Pakistan in the recently held Under-19 Cricket World Cup and secured 12 wickets in just five matches.
He had bowled at a speed of 144 kilometer/hour in the world cup and secured the second fastest bowler’s record.
His outstanding performance attracted the attentions of international players and left the International Cricket Council with no option but to make him part of its Under-19 team.
In an interview with the Tribal News Network (TNN), he said he started playing cricket from his childhood. “I used to play at Tatara Cricket Ground in Landi Kotal and bowl with tennis ball,” he recalled.
He got admission in a cricket academy in Peshawar and started taking part in tournaments and won many awards for his excellent performances.
“I became part of Fata under-19 team and performed well after which I was selected for Pakistan’s under-19 side for the tour of Australia,” he said.
His outstanding performance forced the selectors to select him in the national side for the under-19 Asia Cup where was appreciated for his excellent bowling.
Regarding Pakistan’s defeat in the world cup, he said they lost because of crowed pressure as Indian crowed overwhelmed ours during the match.
He has so far toured Australia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and New Zealand and would leave for Dubai to play in Pakistan Super League. He will represent the Lahore Qalandars in the third edition of the PSL.
The teenager is at present, a student of F.Sc, part first, and wants to complete his education. “There is no dearth of talent in tribal areas but shortage of facilities and opportunities,” he asserted. “If given opportunities, the players from Fata would excel in every game,” he concluded.