LAHORE: The captain of the Under-19 cricket team has vowed on Thursday that the team fill not disappoint fans in the upcoming world cup in South Africa.
Batting and wicketkeeping prodigy Rohail Nazir will be leading Pakistan in the International Cricket Council (ICC) Under19 (U19) Cricket World Cup 2020. But, four years ago, the Islamabad-born was not sure whether he had what it took to thrive in competitive cricket.
Like numerous cricket stars in the country, his ‘love affair’ with the game had begun by playing tape-ball cricket in his neighbourhood.
He took inspiration from his elder brother, Tahir Nazir, who is one of the prominent tape-ball players and growing up Rohail wanted to emulate his brother’s heroics with the bat.
He shifted his focus to wicketkeeping on the advice of his coach while starting off his career. But, the start was not a rosy one. In 2015, Rohail was left disheartened after failing his first-ever PCB-Pepsi U16 trials.
Next year, he returned again, and left with a thumping impression.
In the PCB-Pepsi U16 two-day tournament in 2016, Rohail made 394 runs in four matches which earned him a spot in the U16 series against Australia in the UAE in 2017.
In 2018, Rohail Nazir made his debut in first-class cricket. And, last year in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy 2019-20, he scored 320 runs in the six matches he played, including two fifties in the final. In his team Northern’s first innings, Rohail scored a fighting 80 (115 balls, 12 fours) to rescue his side with a 155-run partnership with Faizan Riaz after they had collapsed to 69 for five. Rohail followed his first innings heroics with a 96-ball 70 with the help of nine fours.
Rohail Nazir on his early days, interest and ambition in cricket: “I aspired of becoming a cricketing star in my childhood and my family supported me from the beginning which made things easy for me.
“I had failed in the 2015 PCB-Pepsi U16 trials which broke my heart. At that time I felt my strength is tape-ball cricket and maybe I would need to stick to that as hard-ball cricket was not meant for me. But on the insistence of my brothers and friends, I gave trials the next year and succeeded.
“My performances against Australia U16 gave me tremendous confidence. Pakistan all-rounder Imad Wasim, who also hails from Islamabad, has been a great support to me. We used to practice at the Diamond Cricket Club in Islamabad and Imad used to encourage me a lot and used to praise me on my performances at various levels.”