FAISALABAD: Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) initiative to groom U19 players by including two of each in the five regional teams currently competing in the Pakistan Cup paid off on Thursday when two of Sindh’s youngsters caught the eye in their team’s 42-run win over Balochistan.
As per PCB’s rules for the ongoing 50-over event, it is mandatory for each team to select at least one of their two U19 players in their playing 11. That reserved spot on the day was handed to 17-year-old left-arm spinner Hasan Khan, who gave away 38 runs but also picked up a wicket in his seven overs.
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Later on, Hasan’s namesake and fellow teenager Hasan Mohsin was brought on as a substitute for Khurram Manzoor, and he too impressed in his limited role, grabbing a remarkable catch of Umar Gul on Anwar Ali’s ball.
While talking to The Express Tribune, Hasan Khan opened up about his senior debut and what it was like to play with his role models. “I was really excited when my name was selected for the Sindh team and I was told that I will get a chance to play with stars like Sarfaraz [Ahmed] and Khurram [Manzoor],” he said. “The idea of bowling to national team players initially made me a bit nervous, but when I came for net practice with the team, our seniors including Fawad Alam, Khalid Latif and Khurram, gave me a lot of confidence.”
The Beaconhouse alumni then revealed what the experience means for his cricketing education. “The tips you get in the dressing room are some which you will not get in the ground. These pre-match tips really boost our confidence, which basically dictate our performances in the match” explained Hasan Khan.
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He also shared his experience of bowling to Pakistan’s ODI captain Azhar Ali. “It was hard to bowl to Azhar in my first over, but my captain Sarfaraz kept giving me feedback after every ball, and I ended up giving only three runs,” said the proud youngster. “That really lifted my confidence.”
Meanwhile, substitute Mohsin, who was named in the 2016 U19 World Cup’s team of the tournament as an all-rounder, says his aim in the field was to be a mirror image of Khurram so that his absence didn’t hurt the team’s chances of winning.
“I was lucky that I got an opportunity to take a catch as a substitute and that too in my first match. It is something I will always remember,” said Mohsin who hopes his cameo would lead to opportunities in the playing eleven in the future. “It was a difficult catch, but I moved and called at the right time to take the catch.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 23rd, 2016.
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