The gem from Balochistan

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The gem from Balochistan


Haseebullah is confident of becoming the first Test cricketer from his province

Balochistan is one province of the cricket-crazy country Pakistan, where the sport is probably not as popular as in other parts of the country. Also, the overall infrastructure in the province is weak, let alone the facilities for cricket.

The biggest province in terms of land has not produced many cricketers for the national side. In fact, there has not been a single Test cricketer from Balochistan. The reason is obvious — not enough opportunities for the youngsters.

However, to reach the highest level of cricket in the country for someone belonging to that province requires more resilience and hard work compared to other parts of the country.

One such talented and resilient youngster is wicket-keeper batter Haseebullah. The 19-year-old belongs to an underdeveloped area of Pishin, which is located 50 kilometres away from the provincial capital Quetta.

The youngster has shown immense talent and his unmatched commitment and determination has turned him into a potential star for Pakistan.


We sat down with the promising cricketer himself to know about his ambitions, inspirations, hard work and dreams.


Lucky to find a mentor at home

Haseeb belongs to a cricketing family where his father Azizullah and paternal uncle Hameedullah both played First-Class cricket.

He did not look elsewhere for inspiration and guidance as he looked up to his father for the knowledge regarding batting, while his uncle provided him with insight about wicketkeeping.

His father and uncle played 17 and 16 First-Class games, respectively. Azizullah has been mentoring his talented son since the inter-school level.


“I started playing cricket in 2015 in the streets of Pishin and also played my first hard-ball [cricket ball] game at the Inter-School level,” recalled Haseebullah while sharing his journey with Bol News. “I enrolled in Zamzam Cricket Club and I am still a part of it.”

His father identified the potential of his son when he saw him bat at an inter-school game where he went on to play an exciting knock of 80 runs. He believes that he was lucky to find a mentor in his house, while many youngsters lose their way as they do not get the much-needed advice.

“Many youngsters don’t have enough guidance from the start, so I am blessed and lucky to have my father as coach,” he maintained.

First from Pakistan

As an opening batter, Haseebullah nourished his skills and executed them at every level. He topped the Balochistan region at the U16 level for three years. Moreover, he was the best batter in Pakistan in that age group in 2019.

He was a phenomenal performer at the U16 level and his flawless inning of 131 runs against Bangladesh paved his way for the U19 level. He continued to bat in his merry way and go on to shine at that level as well.





“The main reason for my consistency since the junior level is that I play club matches with full intensity and take it as a high-level or international fixture,” he shared.

The left-handed batter caught the attention of the cricket pundits and fans when he made headlines during the recently concluded U19 World Cup. He created history by becoming the first batter from Pakistan to score two centuries in a single edition of the U19’s global event.


His performance was not restricted to the junior level only. Recently, he represented Balochistan in the Pakistan Cup and steered his team to their first-ever title.

The opening batter emerged as the highest run-scorer in the tournament with 614 runs with the help of three tons and a half-century at a strike rate of 98.20. His outstanding performance earned him the Player of the Tournament award.

Fond of playing cover drives, Haseebullah is now eyeing representing Pakistan at the highest level and he is confident of doing so very soon.

“I look up to players like Virat Kohli and Babar Azam and try to become like them. I am confident of representing Pakistan across all formats very soon,” he mentioned. “I love all the formats but the main goal is to play Test cricket more as it challenges your temperament,” he added, revealing further that he looks to take the game of cricket as fun and is keen to enjoy it.

The youngster shared his game strategy where he looks to stay at the wicket at the start and score 30 to 40 runs in the first 10 overs and then up the scoring rate.

“I don’t get pressurised [with the slow scoring rate] because of the ability to hit sixes at the backend of the innings,” he maintained.



Overcoming hurdles

It has not been easy for Haseebullah as he had to overcome numerous hurdles. He accredits his parents and coach Asam Sheikh for supporting him since the early days. He also mentioned other coaches of Balochistan who helped him and the Provincial Sports Secretary Imran Rasheed, who has been sponsoring his cricket equipment.

Haseebullah shared that youngsters from his province find it tough to showcase their skills because of a lack of grounds and other similar reasons. He created nets and curated a pitch to play the game, which inspired other kids in his town to pick the bat and the ball.


“I had to make my nets and pitch at the Modern High School in Pishin,” he shared. “Youngsters have started taking interest after watching me and despite having only one pitch, we try to accommodate everybody.”


Though Haseebullah is still just a youngster, he tries to impart what he has learned by playing at different levels, while his father, who has also coached him, tries to enlighten the kids with the knowledge that can help them grow as a cricketer.


Father’s dream

Azizullah could not play for Pakistan; however, he wishes to see his son play for the country with the star on his chest and Haseebullah is confident of making his father’s dream a reality.

“My father’s dream of playing for Pakistan couldn’t turn into a reality, but he wishes to see me play in the national team. No batter has played Test cricket from Balochistan and I am hoping to be the first-ever Test cricketer from my province very soon.”



Role models

The 19-year-old has grown up idolising legendary batters like Saeed Anwar and Mohammad Yousuf. However, to keep up with the demands of the modern game, he has started to monitor Fakhar Zaman’s method of play closely.

“My role models are Saeed Anwar and Mohammad Yousuf but right now my favourite is Fakhar Zaman,” he said. “He is also an opening batter and plays with an aggressive mindset and I look to follow the same suit.”

Moreover, he disclosed that Yousuf has helped him quite a bit in recent times as he worked tirelessly with him in three different camps before the U19 World Cup.

“I watch his batting videos and talk to him about technical issues; he guides me a lot. I was not good with the technique but working with him at the National High-Performance Center (NHPC) for a month before going to the World Cup has helped me improve my technique substantially.”

Recently, during the biggest 50-over tournament of the domestic circuit, he got an opportunity to share the dressing room with some of the most seasoned cricketers of the current lot. Like any other passionate youngster, he tried to learn as much as he could in their company.


“I shared the dressing room with Asad Shafiq, Imran Butt and our [Balochistan] captain Yasir Shah, who always guides me like an elder brother and is my biggest motivator,” he mentioned. “I learned a lot from them as they shared their experiences and I tried to adopt good habits of them.”


Eyeing PSL

Since the inception of the Pakistan Super League (PSL), it has become the platform where the budding cricketers have a chance to announce their arrival. Numerous young cricketers, including Shadab Khan, Fakhar Zaman, Hasan Ali and others used this platform to launch themselves on the big stage.

The left-handed batter is also confident of playing the next season of the league and that too from the franchise of his province.

“After consistent performances, I am confident of playing PSL in 2023. I am from Quetta, so it will be great if I represent the Gladiators.”


Haseebullah is well-aware of the importance of fitness in the modern form of the game. Therefore, he refrains himself from eating all the delicious cuisines of his hometown, including rosh and namkeen boti. Plus, he tends to work hard on his fitness and play football in his spare time.

“I play football in my spare time. Fitness must be of high quality in cricket and I play football which is a good game to improve it. I play daily for about one hour,” he shared. “My practice routine is I train in the morning for three hours and two hours in the evening. During Ramadan, my timings are 4 to 7 in the evening.”

“I try to maintain my diet by coordinating with the trainer. I have left eating fast food and sweet dishes now and also I used to have soft drinks a lot which now I have completely abandoned,” he added.


Geared up for Ramazan cricket

Meanwhile, night cricket in Ramazan is quite popular in Karachi and the emerging star is gearing up to take part in it. He has previously played these tournaments in his home city but it will be the first time when he will feature in tournaments in Karachi.


“There have been invitations to play in Ramazan cricket but I have been on the road for the last six to seven months, so I have planned to join the competition from Ramadan 15,” he concluded.



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