Qasim Akram aims to follow in Virat, Babar’s footsteps

The batting prodigy wants to showcase his talent in the upcoming ICC U19 Cricket World Cup

Qasim Akram aims to follow in Virat, Babar’s footsteps PHOTO COURTESY: PCB

Qasim Akram is one of the batting prodigies named in Pakistan’s ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2020 squad that will contest for the trophy in South Africa in the tournament beginning from January 17. The Lahore-born Qasim started his love affair with cricket after he was inspired by his friends playing cricket in his neighbourhood.

Qasim, who hails from a lower middle-class area in Lahore and also bowls off-spin, started taking keen interest in the game when he saw cricket matches at the Kot Khawaja Saeed club ground near his home. After a long wait he was allowed access to the ground by one of the coaches as a ball-picker.

Qasim was tasked with retrieving balls hit far and long by batsmen at the nets, one day his luck changed as the club team gave him an opportunity of playing when one of the team players didn’t show up. Qasim made an impression as a fast bowler and his cricket journey started.

 “On my coach’s instructions I started taking batting seriously. I used to stay out late due to my interest in cricket, my father used to scold me but with my brothers’ intervention, I was allowed to pursue cricket. My father and brother worked at the old clothes shop,” said Qasim. “I have worked very hard for the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup, head coach Ijaz Ahmed has helped me identify and overcome by mistakes. I would want to play a central role in Pakistan’s success at the tournament.”

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Qasim made an entry into PCB recognised cricket through his induction in the PCB-Pepsi U16 tw0-day tournament; he scored 373 runs in eight matches to justify his inclusion. Qasim progressed to U19 cricket and represented Lahore for the next two years.

Last year, Qasim scored 260 runs in five matches of the National U19 three-day tournament to occupy the third spot on the batting chart. In the one-day version, Qasim hammered two centuries in a 296-run tally in five games with a hugely impressive average of 74 with the best of 131.

Qasim has already represented Pakistan U19 on tours of South Africa and Sri Lanka. At the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup he wants to take the next big step and emulate his idols Virat Kohli and Babar Azam, who announced their talents to the world using the same platform.