KARACHI: Salman Irshad, the fast bowler from Azad Kashmir's Rawalakot, grew up with dream of playing cricket for Pakistan and to bowl against top Indian batsmen was wish of his life.
On Wednesday, he bowled against top Indian batsmen including Virat Kohli, KL Rahul and Chetashwar Pujara during the nets as Indian team trained in Sydney for the 4th Test against Australia.
Salman was also joined by his Lahore Qalandars development squad teammate Haris Rauf to bowl Indian team.
23-year-old Salman was picked by Qalandars during its Player Development Programme trials in Azad Kashmir. He later went on to play Pakistan Super League (PSL) for Lahore Qalandars in 2018.
During his PSL stint, the right-arm fast bowler had told Geo.tv that he wanted to play for Pakistan, like every other cricketer, and to bowl against top batsmen from India.
Salman also went to Australia with Qalandars development squad where he impressed local cricket clubs with his performance, who offered him contract to play for them.
And, being in Australia helped him reach his dream of bowling against top batsmen from India.
“I am in Sydney and today I trained with Indian cricket team. I bowled against them along with Haris, I am glad that everyone in Indian team was impressed with our bowling,” Salman told Geo.tv.
“It was a learning experience for us, Indian coaches and players praised our bowling which was very morale boosting for us,” he added.
Haris Rauf, another bowler from Qalandars development squad, was also on nets with Salman and got the opportunity to bowl against likes of Kohli and Pujara.
“It is always good to bowl against best batsmen of the world, being told ‘good bowling’ by them was a great feeling for me,” Rauf told Geo.tv from Sydney.
Both the players thanked Lahore Qalandars for the opportunity.
“It is all because of Lahore Qalandars, we were playing on streets, Qalandars brought us to Australia, got us contracted here and today we are training with some of the top batsmen of the world,” Rauf said.
Meanwhile, Atif Rana, the CEO of Lahore Qalandars, said that this is the success of Qalandars’ Player Development Programme and he’s proud to see Qalandars’ players bowling in nets with Indian team.
“These players were in oblivion few years ago and today they are bowling with Indian team, this is real essence of our player development program,” Rana said.
“We have already started getting fruits from our programme and I am sure very soon we’ll be providing players to Pakistan’s national cricket team. This all is a proud moment for us.”
By Faizan Lakhani\\