From falling down while delivering ball to surprise ODI debut: Meet Zaman, PoK-born Pak pacer

Hailing from Mirpur in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK), the right-arm pacer had played in the Kashmir League a year before.
Pakistan fast bowler Zaman Khan
Pakistan fast bowler Zaman Khan

COLOMBO: Zaman Khan was playing domestic cricket in Pakistan when talent scouts from Lahore Qalandars, a Pakistan Super League (PSL) franchise, first saw him last year. He was immediately drafted into the players development programme (PDP) so that the raw talent could be polished and unleashed onto the world.

Hailing from Mirpur in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK), the right-arm pacer had played in the Kashmir League a year before.

"We saw him in the domestic tournaments and immediately realised his potential. He was drafted into the PDP and he delivered in the first year as he helped us win the PSL title for the first time last year," Waqas Ahmed, bowling coach of Lahore Qalandars told this daily.

Zaman, who has not played first-class cricket yet, has already represented Pakistan in six T20Is. He made his ODI debut on Thursday in his team's must-win Asia Cup Super Four match against Sri Lanka here at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. He finished with 0/39 in six overs as Sri Lanka survived a thriller to secure a place in the final against India.

 The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had earlier announced on Wednesday that Zaman will replace injured Naseem Shah in the squad. A shoulder injury has ruled Naseem out of the tournament.

"He hails from a very modest family. His father and other relatives were daily wage labourers. They didn't even have a proper house. They used to live in a hut but once he helped Lahore Qalandars win the PSL title, we got a house constructed for him," added the coach. 

Waqas also credited former Pakistan pacer Aaqib Javed for honing Zaman's skills. "He has a slinging bowling action so he used to fall down every time after releasing the ball. That's where Aaqib bhai helped him. He worked with Zaman for a couple of months which changed his life forever. He not only helped Zaman learn how to maintain balance after releasing the ball but developed into a bowler who can send shivers down any batting line-up," said Waqas.

The 22-year-old Zaman made his T20I debut against Afghanistan at Sharjah in March this year. He made his List A debut for Northern in the Pakistan Cup in March 2022. Zaman played his first T20 match in September 2021 when he represented Northern in the National T20 Cup.

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The New Indian Express