KARACHI: A few months ago, Dilber Hussain was working on agricultural land in his village in tehsil Jaranwala of Punjab's Faisalabad district. Today, he has earned his first cricket contract and is now in contention to play the prestigious Pakistan Super League in the future.
Dilber was spotted by Lahore Qalandars' Director of Cricket Operations Aaqib Javed during player development program earlier this year, and was later asked to tour Australia with the PSL franchise's player development squad.
The 25-year-old is now one of three players who have received contracts from Qalandars under the player development program—the two others are 24-year-old Maaz Khan and Ali Majid Shah, 26.
"We have given contracts to three of our best finds this season. We will pay them a monthly retention along with taking care of all their professional needs," said Qalandars Chief Executive Office (CEO) Atif Rana.
Rana said all three players were from "very humble backgrounds" and had the potential to become top performers of the country.
"The player development program is aimed at producing talent for Pakistan cricket," he said.
Aaqib Javed, who is also the Qalandars' head coach, said the player development program was not limited to hunting players.
"This is not merely a talent hunt program. This program allows us to develop a player into a performer, and enables complete transformation of raw talent," he said.
Speaking about Dilber Hussain, Aaqib said he first spotted him in Faisalabad and was "impressed at first sight".
"It was the first time Dilber played hard-ball cricket, the first time he was in a proper cricket stadium, and he displayed great passion for the game," he said.
"Similarly, Ali Majid Shah is another extraordinary talent. He just needs to work on his fielding and I am hopeful that working at our academy for the next one year would help him improve his fielding," said the former Pakistan pacer.
He added that AR Srikanth, the video analyst who works with IPL team Kolkata Knight Riders, was also very impressed with Shah's batting talent.
"Maaz is also an amazing talent who has come from an area where there was no cricket facility," he said.
It is worth mentioning that Lahore Qalandars have also managed to get contracts in Australia for its two other PDP finds, Farzan Raja and Ahsan Mirza. The duo is currently in Tasmania and training with Big Bash team Hobart Hurricanes.
By: Faizan Lakhani