Pakistan's next generation: Five emerging stars to keep an eye on

Pakistan Shaheens’ recent tours have brought several uncapped cricketers into the limelight

Pakistan's next generation: Five emerging stars to keep an eye on PHOTO: PCB

Pakistan Shaheens’ recent tours have brought several uncapped cricketers into the limelight. Here are five who may break through to the Pakistan national team.

Mehran Mumtaz

Mehran Mumtaz, who represented Pakistan in the Under-19 World Cup held in the West Indies in 2022, has quickly emerged as a promising cricket talent. At just 20 years old, his exceptional skills as a bowler shone brightly during Pakistan Shaheen's recent tour to Zimbabwe, where he achieved remarkable success. In two four-day matches, Mehran managed to claim an impressive 15 wickets, including two five-wicket hauls.

His stellar performance in Zimbabwe caught the attention of the selectors, leading to his well-deserved inclusion in the Pakistan training camp for the Sri Lanka tour.

Mehran's presence also proved vital during the recently-concluded Emerging Asia Cup, where he played an important role in Pakistan Shaheens' ultimate triumph over their arch-rivals, India A.

In the final match against India A, Mehran showcased his talent once again. Bagging two crucial wickets, he, along with Sufiyan Muqeem, effectively rattled the opposition after setting a challenging target of 353 runs. Shaheens outclassed India A, securing a resounding victory by 128 runs as the Indian team was dismissed for 224 runs in just 40 overs.

With his incredible potential and impressive performances on the field, the cricketing community eagerly anticipates witnessing the further growth and success of this talented 20-year-old cricketer from Kohat.

Omair Bin Yousuf

Omair bin Yousuf, a talented 24-year-old cricketer hailing from Karachi, has long admired the legendary Muhammad Yousuf as his role model. Dreaming of representing Pakistan on the international stage like his idol, Omair's dedication to the sport has been evident in his exceptional performances.

During Pakistan Shaheen's tour to Zimbabwe, Omair showcased his prowess with the bat, leaving an indelible mark on the red and white-ball series. In the two four-day matches, he emerged as the leading run-scorer, amassing an impressive 348 runs in just three innings. Notably, his personal best of 250 not out in the first four-dayer was a testament to his remarkable talent.

In the white-ball series against Zimbabwe, Omair continued to shine, securing the second spot on the batting charts with 275 runs from four matches. His exceptional knock of 153 in the fourth one-day game marked his maiden List A century, adding another feather to his cap.

Omair's exceptional performances did not go unnoticed by the cricketing community. Pakistan captain Babar Azam himself recognized his potential and named him among the upcoming superstars for the country. With his outstanding display in the recent ACC Men's Emerging Cup, where he scored 183 runs in five innings, including a half-century, Omair further solidified his position as one of the upcoming batting talents for Pakistan.

Given his consistent and stupendous performances, it seems only a matter of time before Omair bin Yousuf secures his place in Pakistan's national team, fulfilling his dream of representing his country on the international stage.

Haseebullah Khan

Haseebullah, born in Pishin in 2002, made a name for himself in the Under 19 World Cup held in 2022, where he showcased his batting prowess and ended up as the second-highest run-scorer. His skills were not limited to batting alone. Haseebullah also demonstrated his wicketkeeping abilities, taking eight catches and executing two stumpings during the tournament.

Following his standout performance in the Under 19 World Cup, Haseebullah earned a List A debut for Balochistan in the 2021-22 Pakistan Cup, where he made a significant impact. Haseebullah's consistent performances saw him finish as the leading run-scorer in the competition (614 runs in 12 innings) and helped Balochistan clinch the tournament title.

His impressive performances did not go unnoticed at the national level. In December 2022, Haseebullah was one of the three talented youngsters selected to join the national squad during the second Test match of the New Zealand series, an opportunity that showcased the recognition of his potential and talent by the national selectors.

In March 2023, Haseebullah took the field for Peshawar Zalmi in PSL 8, where he continued to shine with his aggressive strokeplay and managed to score a well-deserved fifty, leaving a lasting impression on cricket enthusiasts and experts alike.

Continuing his remarkable form, Haseebullah further established himself during Pakistan Shaheen's recent tour to Zimbabwe, where he scored an impressive 221 runs in just six one-day matches.

Haseebullah's journey from representing Pakistan in the Under 19 World Cup to earning accolades in domestic and franchise cricket showcases his potential to become a prominent figure in Pakistan's cricketing landscape.

Qasim Akram

Qasim Akram idolizes Muhammad Hafeez and dreams of emulating him by representing Pakistan on the cricket field.

In the 2022 ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup held in the West Indies, Akram had the honor of leading the Pakistan U19 team. During the fifth-place playoff against Sri Lanka, his exceptional all-round performance became a momentous occasion in ICC U19 World Cup history, being the first player ever to score a century and take five wickets in a single match.

Beyond the U19 World Cup, Akram has already proven his mettle in various cricketing arenas. He has represented Karachi Kings in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) and has been part of Pakistan Shaheens' tour to Zimbabwe. When Pakistan faced a 2-0 deficit in the one-day series, Akram's innings of 57 runs led the team to secure their first victory on the tour.

Furthermore, Akram achieved another remarkable feat during the 2023 ACC Emerging Teams Asia Cup as he secured his first five-wicket haul in List A cricket while playing for Pakistan Shaheens against United Arab Emirates A.

With such impressive performances at a young age, Akram is undoubtedly a rising star in the world of cricket, and has the potential to represent Pakistan in near future.

Muhammad Hurraira

Muhammad Huraira, a talented 21-year-old cricketer from Sialkot, has made significant strides in his cricketing career. He has showcased his batting prowess in the last two editions of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, emerging as the leading run-scorer.

In the recent 2022-23 Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, Huraira achieved a remarkable feat by becoming the only batter to surpass 1000 runs. His outstanding performances played a crucial role in Northern's maiden first-class title victory. Throughout the tournament, he played 11 matches, amassing an impressive total of 1,024 runs with an exceptional average of 73.14. During this remarkable journey, Huraira hammered four centuries and two half-centuries, displaying his consistency and skill as a top-order batsman.

Huraira's form didn't fade even during Pakistan Shaheens’ recent tour of Zimbabwe. He continued his exceptional run by scoring 178 and 64 against Zimbabwe A at Kwekwe and Mutare, respectively, further solidifying his reputation as a talented young player.

One of his most remarkable achievements is holding the record for being the second youngest batter in Pakistan to score a first-class triple-century. He achieved this milestone during the 2021-22 season when he scored an outstanding 311 off 343 balls against Balochistan at the State Bank Ground, Karachi, leading Northern to a resounding innings and 170-run victory.

With such consistent performances in domestic cricket, Huraira was rewarded with a spot in the Pakistan squad for the Test tour to Sri Lanka. Although he didn't get the opportunity to feature in the playing XI during the tour, his selection speaks volumes about his potential and the faith the selectors have in his abilities.     ...

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