The endless chain of fast bowlers that Pakistan has produced over the years has been the envy of other cricketing nations. Zaman Khan is the latest to join the illustrious line. But there is a slight difference in Zaman. Perhaps he is the first swing fast bowler a la Lasith Malinga to play for Pakistan in international cricket. Zaman was included in Pakistan’s Asia Cup squad the following Wednesday Naseem Shah was ruled out due to a shoulder injury.
Now, the cricketing world might be engaged in a frantic Google search to know more about Zaman, but the 21-year-old had to tumble through layers of difficulties to even start playing cricket.
The ever endearing rags to riches story if you will.
As happens with many other Pakistani pacers, Zaman also cut his teeth in tapeball cricket in Mirpur, a small village in PoK.
Coming from a family of daily wage labourers, Zaman was attracted to cricket from a very young age and found support from his household to pursue his dream.
“My father and my brothers are labourers. I started playing cricket after seeing other boys in my street playing that sport. I used to skip classes in the Madrasa to play cricket. One of my relatives told me that I had to join an under-16 trial in my village after seeing how fast I bowled. Luckily I got selected and my journey started,” Zaman said in a video released by PCB.
Zaman took the next step when he was selected for the Pakistan under-19 team to tour Australia, an experience he described as an eye-opener.
The pacer’s first big stage experience came when he was picked by Lahore Qalandars for Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2022.
It was disheartening for him to rub shoulders with top stars of his country like Shaheen Shah Afridi and Haris Rauf.
Zaman made a mighty impression in his first PSL season, taking 18 wickets from 13 matches to finish third on the wicket-takers list behind Afridi (20) and leg-spinner Shadab Khan (19).
His efforts had played a major role in Lahore winning their first PSL title that year.
“When we saw him in the Kashmir T20 league, we wanted to draft him into the side. He was fast and had a wonderful yorker and we thought he could fit in well in our team,” said Waqas Ahmed, the bowling coach. of the Qalandars.
His observation was not far from the truth as Zaman also made his presence felt in PSL 2023, grabbing 15 wickets from 13 matches.
It helped the Qalandars retain their title, the first team in the PSL to do so.
“He was a bit raw when he came to us. He’s got that round-arm action. He was quick, all right, but he tended to deviate the ball down the leg side or well outside the off stump.
“We worked on the accuracy factor at net and he is a hard-working boy and a quick learner,” Ahmed said.
“Since he has this ability to bowl quick full-length deliveries, we always wanted to use him at the death,” Ahmed added.
Zaman’s skills were visible when he defended 12 runs in the last over of the PSL 2023 final against Multan Sultans on 18 March.
Six days later, Zaman made his Pakistan debut in a T20I against Afghanistan in Sharjah.
When Pakistan needed a replacement for Naseem, Team Director Mickey Arthura man with a keen eye for talent, immediately wanted Zaman in the squad.
Zaman also made his ODI debut against Sri Lanka here.
But more than that, it will be a golden opportunity for him to learn the nuances of his craft from a skilled performer like Morne MorkelPakistan bowling coach.
“I’m super excited to work with a talent like Zaman. I followed him a bit on TV during the PSL, but it’s important for him to find his feet in a big game (against Sri Lanka), a must win for us.
“He’s a fine talent. I want to connect with him, build that relationship and develop him because he’s a match-winner,” Morkel said.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)
Topics mentioned in this article