Discovering talent: Waziristan springs cricketing surprise

Published: November 23, 2010

Bowling prodigy Abdul Haq PHOTO: ABU DHABI CRICKET

ABU DHABI: Ignored in Pakistan and recognised in Abu Dhabi, Abdul Haq dreams of playing for the national cricket team and using the game to send out to the world a message of peace.

Haq, 27, hails from drone-hit North Waziristan’s Mirali region and is a fast bowler. He works as a heavy-duty vehicle driver-cum-supervisor at a local construction company in Abu Dhabi, where he caught the eye of the Pakistan cricket team management. He has now been called to the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Lahore to be groomed and possibly represent the national team.

Haq stood in the stands, watching Pakistan’s squad practicing for the second test against South Africa in Abu Dhabi. He was called in to bowl to the batsmen and bowled some extraordinary spells.  “I was called by [Pakistan coach] Waqar Younis – who gave me the title of Tagray Pathan (strong pathan) – to bowl to his batsmen. I felt honoured and extremely encouraged when the batsmen seemed to struggle against my bowling,” Haq said. “Younis and [bowling coach] Aqib Javed really appreciated me and later, team manager Intikhab Alam took down my contact details and invited me to the NCA.”

Haq has played with frontline Pakistan bowler Umar Gul in Peshawar but complained that due to the situation in North Waziristan, he never got proper guidance. “When I was 19, I played at the zonal and regional levels and even participated in the Pepsi fast bowling camp in Pakistan. But my talent wasn’t recognised by selectors and I was pushed back into my uncertain life,” Haq says.

Alam said that Haq was very impressive in the nets and demonstrated a lot of pace. “I wonder why, despite being very talented, he was ignored in Pakistan. However, observing his potential, I have noted down his contact details and invited him to the NCA,” he said.

Haq’s native town has been devastated by drone attacks and regularly appears in the news for its links to militancy. The drones are infamous for causing civilian casualties and Haq is proof of that: he lost his cousin Tariq Aziz in a strike two years ago, soon after Aziz had married Haq’s sister.

Forced to move to Abu Dhabi to make a living, Haq’s love for cricket never diminished and he continued to play at the Abu Dhabi Gymkhana where he was named the bowler of the season. “My father had a transport business but with conditions worsening in Waziristan, we were beset with a myriad of financial problems. So I opted to move to Abu Dhabi and work here,” Haq told The Express Tribune.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 23rd, 2010.

Reader Comments (9)

  • Rizwan T Khan
    Nov 23, 2010 - 11:23AM

    And thats how we waste our golden talent! Recommend

  • Hamid ullah khan wazir
    Nov 23, 2010 - 3:15PM

    proud to be a wazirestani

    this is hamid wazir, fist of all I congratulates Mr.Abdul haq that he is selected for National cricket academy (NCA).Haq is a player of great telnet and impatience.He .also played many tournaments with us but an outstanding performance was in a final match against us.he took 7/14.and nominated man of the match.I personally know Haq ,He has a great fast bowler.Recommend

  • Khuram Khan
    Nov 24, 2010 - 7:00PM

    All the Selectors for the last 8 years and the Chairmen should be kicked in their backside for criminal negligence.Even Tanveer who took 6 wickets and handled bat well was not picked till he crossed 30. Some TV channel should get hold of these criminals and make them accountable.Recommend

  • Shahid Razaq Kiyani
    Nov 25, 2010 - 3:45AM

    Typical of Pakistan system and selection committee to miss such talent, one of many that have gone out of the system, yet we still persist with abject failures like Imran Farhat, Danish Kaneria and the like.
    I wish Abdul Haq all the best and hope that he achieves the honour of representing the country..Recommend

  • Farhan Ahmad
    Nov 25, 2010 - 3:14PM

    i must congratulate Abdul Haq, well well well it happen most of the time in Pakistan its not a new thing to know… but i recommend that National coaches in Pakistan should go in different towns and they must found a lot better and Abdul Haq as compare in AGE, TALENT and SPEED.Recommend

  • suleman burki from d.i.khan
    Nov 25, 2010 - 7:31PM

    i m very glade to see abdul haq name in national cricket.i also thanks to waqar younas that he
    appriciate this poor man that belong from waziristan.i chalange to pcb that there many bowler shoib akhter in fata almost in north and south waziristan agency. i am ready to the pcb for help of searching talent in waziristan.
    suleman khan burki
    051-4362810
    0339954972Recommend

  • M Akber
    Nov 25, 2010 - 9:57PM

    masha Allah…

    we used to have our bowlers named as trains… pindi express, burewala express… now we would have to name a truck… any suggestions ??Recommend

  • Nov 26, 2010 - 12:06PM

    Me personaly belong to North Wazirsitan, and personaly know him, He is the real man, real player, while doing his superb bowling and superb Batting, there is much more telnt in our region, but v are still waitin for the right eyes and right selecters, plz give us chance,,,,,

    FUTURE BADAL DAINGEY PAKISTAN KA INSHAALLAH,,,,Recommend

  • Nov 26, 2010 - 12:15PM

    i realy Appreciate Abdul haq, we hav the telnt like this, but are still ignoring by our governament. Recommend

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