CHENNAI: Ibrahim Faisal became part of history when he walked onto the field at the JB Marks Oval in Potchefstroom against England on January 20. A year after his twin sister, Maryam, represented Scotland in the inaugural Women's U19 Cricket World Cup in 2023, the 18-year-old donned the Scottish colours in the U19 Men's World Cup.
Maryam remembers it like yesterday when the duo was playing every sport under the Sun. "Whatever sports we played, we did it together from the start. We used to play loads of sports like cricket, swimming, karate, and even horse riding. When you are younger, your parents just put you in every single sport and you try it all out. Even then Bhaiyya was always the more sporty one," she told this daily from Scotland.
"I used to try and avoid going to cricket training (laughs), but my mom never let me quit," the 18-year-old admits. But it was her brother who helped her in the early days to get her cricket basics right. "He tried to be patient at first. I would say I'm quite stubborn and he has got a very low patience tolerance with me. (laughs) So it would be like him giving me throwdowns or teaching me a shot when we were younger, especially because I picked up cricket a lot later and he had learned everything properly before I had. One of the things was how to play a cover drive because I used to not move my feet at all. It was quite brutal. He would be mad by the end of the session," she says.
Despite being harsh on his sister at times, Ibrahim knew when to calm her nerves and support her; even when he was playing for the opposition teams. Maryam remembers the incident fondly when her brother gave her confidence in the middle of the junior club cricket final. "I think one of the best memories I ever had was in 2019. It was a club junior final. It was Clydesdale ones versus Clydesdale two. Both of us were playing for different teams. When I was walking onto the pitch to bat, the other team had thought that, 'oh, we've got it in the bag' and they going to win easily. Bhaiyya just came up to me and said, 'Maryam, they don't think you can do it. show them that you can.' Then it just clicked and I batted well that day. By just being there and watching me he was very happy," an emotional Maryam said.
Ibrahim used all of his experience in Scotland's final fixture of the U19 WC when he had to defend 16 runs against Namibia at Willowmoore Park in Benoni. Despite giving away a boundary and bowling five wides under pressure, he kept his cool and took a wicket of Zacheo van Vuuren who could have taken the game away from his team. On the same ground where the women's team beat the USA in 2023, Scotland's men's team also registered a significant win. This time, it was even more special for the family as their father Faisal Darbari was in attendance to watch his son's performance.
"My parents are proud of us. I remember when I went to my World Cup, they would be watching the games and telling everyone about our games and then just afterward showing everyone the videos of us playing. Even now with Bhaiyya over there, my dad was able to go to South Africa. And watching the games is such a cool experience," Maryam's face lights up speaking about it.
Along with their journey, the duo is also keen to continue the legacy of their grandfather, Naushad Ali, who represented Pakistan in Test cricket and later served as the manager of the Pakistan men’s team."My family is also happy that we're carrying on our granddad's legacy as well in field cricket. It gives that sentimental value to the whole thing. Our grandfather was the reason we even started playing cricket in the first place and it mostly sparked because he was managing one of the games for the Pakistan men's team. I think that's my first memory of cricket. More recently I hit my 1st half-century ever of my career in front of him. He was there when I scored my first century as well. I remember hitting my ton just pointing my bat at him. It was some really special moments."
Naushad passed away in August 2023. A few days later, Maryam made her debut for the Scotland senior side in the Women's T20 World Cup Europe Region Qualifier, receiving her debut cap from Abtaha Maqsood. Safe to say, the legacy their grandfather started in Pakistan is going strong and it is poised to grow even further with the twins.