The 19-year-old innings included two sixes and 21 fours
The 19-year-old opener Haider Ali announced himself with a scintillating 147-ball 133 knock against Balochistan in the Quaid-e-Azam (QeA) Trophy on Saturday.
It was Haider’s sixth first-class innings, which included two sixes and 21 fours.
The Pakistan Under-19 opener is into his first first-class season. He was quick to leave a mark with a 99 in his side’s QeA Trophy opener against Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Haider has progressed to the first-class level through Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB’s) developmental programme. After taking up club cricket in 2015, Haider represented Rawalpindi in PCB-PEPSI Cricket Stars U16 Two Days Tournament, before featuring for the U19 teams of Attock and Rawalpindi.
He broke into the Pakistan U19 side earlier this year during the tour of Sri Lanka in May and registered a half-century on debut with 51 off 65 balls.
“I am extremely happy to have scored my first century in first-class cricket,” Haider told pcb.com.pk. “This knock has provided me a lot of confidence. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a hundred in the first match against Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, but this is my first season and I am learning a lot from it.”
“I have been getting a lot of support from the support staff and the senior players in the side. They have told me to focus on my strengths and that is what I have been doing this season,” he added.
After Balochistan decided to contest the toss, Northern elected to bat and Haider got cracking early on. He negated every threat that the opposition bowlers posed, stroking his way to a brisk, yet measured century.
Haider has been leading Northern’s batting from the front. He is the leading run-scorer from his side and fourth overall with 329 runs in six innings.
Northern’s skipper Umar Amin applauded the youngster’s innings and marveled at his shot selection.
“Haider’s innings was excellent. After we had elected to bat, Haider attacked the opposition’s bowlers and maintained a decent scoring rate, while opting for the best shots from his range of strokes,” said Amin. “He is a strokemaker and has all the shots in his repertoire. He has the potential to play quality cricket in the future. I personally enjoyed watching him bat.”
With the 2020 International Cricket Council (ICC) U19 Cricket World Cup around the corner, Pakistan have laid their hopes on the right-handed batsman to provide profound beginnings with the bat. And Haider promises to deliver what is expected of him.
That he is featuring in first-class cricket and not ongoing U19 tournaments in a testimony of the fact that he has climbed another rung.
To further consolidate his place amongst the top cricketers in the country, Haider has set himself a specific goal.
“My goal is to finish the tournament amongst the top five run-getters,” he said, “and I am putting in all efforts to achieve it.”