England v Pakistan, 2nd npower Test, Edgbaston August 6, 2010

Zulqarnain's long road to recognition

Pakistan's new wicketkeeper's story began at the Under-15 World Cup in 2000, in which he participated only six months after his mother's death
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"I was 100% certain that I would one day play for Pakistan," Zulqarnain Haider told Cricinfo on the eve of his Test debut at Edgbaston. As it turned out, his first taste of the big time was brutally anticlimactic. He came to the crease with his team in disarray at 36 for 5, and edged his first ball, to fall for a duck to Stuart Broad.

Nevertheless, it's been a long and eventful journey for the 24-year-old wicketkeeper from Lahore, and given the distance he's already travelled, the disappointment of the moment will surely pass. His story began at the Under-15 World Cup here in England in the summer of 2000, in which he participated only six months after his mother's death from cancer.

It was a big step to take for a 13-year-old, never mind one coming to terms with such a loss, but his mother's dying wish had been that one of her four sons should travel abroad. Zulqarnain, the second, was the only one with the talent to excel as a cricketer, and it was the promise he made to her that drove him towards the top. Four years later, at the Under-19 World Cup in Dhaka, he scored a vital 23 not out from 18 balls, and claimed three catches, as Pakistan took the title in the final against West Indies.

Now, in a grimly tragic turn of events, he found himself preparing for the biggest moment of his life with another family trauma hanging over his head. Three days ago, his father, Syed Raza Haider, was hospitalised with hepatitis C. He had an ulcer in his digestive system that caused profuse bleeding, leading to a coma. On Thursday morning, he briefly regained consciousness, but Zulqarnain doesn't yet know if he's aware of the step his son has just taken.

For a man battling with such competing emotions, Zulqarnain's challenge has been to keep a clear head. He thinks cricket has been a good distraction, a comfort blanket through which to relieve his stresses.

"I would like to make a hundred and take 10 catches," he said, when asked about his ambitions for his maiden Test. "And to end up as the Man of the Match."

On the eve of the match he was as excited as any Test debutant would be. The world wanted a piece of him and he wanted the attention. There was nothing wrong with that. But there were plenty of nerves on display as well, especially as he hadn't been expecting the call-up so soon, regardless of the criticism that Kamran Akmal attracted during the Trent Bridge Test. "I had the hopes that I would play at least one Test but at the end of the series, not the second Test," Zulqarnain said.

If there is something he still has in common with the 13-year-old boy of a decade ago, it is intent. Add to that guts. Immediately after the two-day warm-up match against Leicestershire last month, he wandered into the Lord's nets, where some of the Pakistan fast bowlers were preparing for the first Test against Australia. Aaqib Javed, the assistant coach, was looking on as Mohammad Amir, Umar Gul and Mohammad Tanvir gave Imran Farhat a serious working-over.

Zulqarnain, sitting on the sidelines, was getting restless to bat. Dressed in black sneakers and some non-team whites, he looked more like a net bowler than Pakistan's reserve wicketkeeper. Eventually when Aaqib gave him permission, Zulqarnain hurriedly padded up, donned a helmet and took guard on a wicket with ample bounce and movement.

The bowlers laughed and warned him for not wearing an arm guard. "I don't need one," he replied with a boyish smile. For the next 20 minutes he played without getting hit once, and even impressed his captain-to-be, Salman Butt, with his solid technique, keeping the bat close to the pads while still looking to play his shots.

Zulqarnain thinks it was his "outstanding" work in the two-day warm-up game against Leicestershire that forced the tour selectors to keep an eye on him. His acrobatic saves on both sides of the wicket were a happy sight for the bowlers who had grown used to watching Kamran spill extras on many an occasion. At 180cm, Zulqarnain is tall for a wicketkeeper, and he agrees it is an advantage. "My reach is a strong point."

Despite Kamran's shoddy glovework at Trent Bridge, long-term followers of Pakistan cricket believed the team management wouldn't dare drop him. But Waqar Younis and Salman Butt are steadily turning the tide in their own way. The pair believe it is time to be bold, and they have remained transparent in their ways and encouraged every member of the squad to put in effort.

"Even after what happened [in the first Test] I never expected I would still play here at Edgbaston because he [Kamran] is a senior and has been playing for many years," Zulqarnain said. "So to play a youngster in the second Test would not be possible. However, now that they have shown the confidence in me, I need to repay the faith. Now that I've got another chance, I would like to prove and establish myself."

Zulqarnain believes that he can make use of the basics he first learned on the streets of Lahore, when he used to cope with the wild flight of a tape ball. He developed sharp reflexes and the daring to dive without fear on the hard concrete of his mohallah on Link Road in Model Town

Zulqarnain had reason to be nervous, given it was his Test debut, and the swinging and seaming conditions in England that have sent chills up the spines of many experienced keepers. But he believes he'll be kept in good stead by the basics he first learned on the streets of Lahore, when he used to cope with the wild flight of a tape ball. He developed sharp reflexes and the daring to dive without fear on the hard concrete of his mohallah on Link Road in Model Town.

"One of my acquaintances saw me take some good catches and told me I had the guts and I could play at a higher level," he said. He started playing with older boys and became more popular as a result. Those days of coping with the swift and random swing of the tape ball are bound to come handy now in England, where reflexes and reach are paramount.

Those were also days of wearing torn shoes and torn gloves. Days when passion got the adrenalin pumping. It was also a trying time for the Haider family, with Zulqarnain's mother's cancer spreading rapidly. His father was the lone breadwinner, working at a local factory, but the treatment was expensive and at times the family could not save enough to eat two meals a day. "The injections cost around Rs 60,000 and she needed about two to three per month," Zulqarnain said. "We needed to save every penny."

His elder sister, Any, suffered from typhoid when she was young and in the absence of their mother, somebody needed to take care of her. Zulqarnain's dad made sure that he married as soon as he reached adulthood. "He did not want me to get spoilt," Zulqarnain said with a hearty laugh. The first person he called, a minute after his name was announced during the team meeting on Thursday was his wife, Iqra.

Meanwhile, he hasn't forgotten the promise he made himself after his mother's death. "I promised that the day that I make my Test debut I would donate half my match fee to the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital, where she was treated." Fittingly, it is the hospital founded by Imran Khan in memory of his own mother.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • IK11 on August 9, 2010, 22:36 GMT

    Very touching.I am deeply impressed by the guts he showed in his debut test match.He displayed nerves of steel.What a gutsy player! I sincerely wish that he replaces kamran forever.I hope he's given a fair run to prove himself.

  • Mustafa7 on August 9, 2010, 17:09 GMT

    Zulqarnain's inclusion in the team occurred in order to block the way for strong candidate Sarfraz Ahmed but Kamran Akmal's luck was so bad that even moderate guessed (in terms of batting skills only) wicketkeeper came out so strong that hardly Kamran Akmal stand with the chance of appearing again in the series.

  • Cricfan27 on August 9, 2010, 15:45 GMT

    Good luck Zulqarnain! Hope u will not turn like the betrayers/ traitors after achieving something in life.

  • on August 9, 2010, 15:39 GMT

    Good Luck Zoni (Zulqarnain) !!!!! I am his childhood neighbor at Link Road Model Town, when we were used to play tennis ball early in morning together, he was 6-7 years younger of most of our that morning cricket playing circle. I still remember it was never an easy task to get his wicket on his turn. he was always an obvious choice of wicket keeper. Anyhow ... have a lot of great memories of that time. About his test match performance, i can see he was very much confident he just loose his wicket in bit some hurry ... otherwise a debut century was there for him ... BEST OF LUCK ZONI .... U WILL ROCK .... U WILL BE PROUD OF UR NATION :) GOOD LUCK

  • aravindar on August 9, 2010, 10:27 GMT

    Being every bit Indian, I still watched the whole match yesterday and particularly wanting this guy Haider play well, donno why, he reminded me of my own idol the 'Wall' Rahul Dravid.

  • on August 9, 2010, 9:48 GMT

    as a sri lankan i saluute zulqarnain for his journey of success.... may allah giv him strength!!! GOOD LUCK!!!

  • on August 9, 2010, 8:15 GMT

    MashaAllah . God bless u.

  • Twenty20virgin on August 9, 2010, 8:10 GMT

    For the sake of Pak bowlers and world cricket, this kid should be keeping and not Kamran!

  • Aasim_Waheed on August 9, 2010, 6:13 GMT

    I liked his attitude and mental toughness of this boy. He is a real fighter. Wish him all the best in his career. I think now we will have Moin Khan/Rashid Latif kind of Scenerio. Now we will have Kamran/Zulqurnain sceerio. Good for Pakistan.

  • on August 9, 2010, 6:04 GMT

    Zulqarnain's 88 in the second innings was one of the best innings i have ever seen.Iam sure he is a great talent and a very stylish batsmen.Hope he makes pakistan proud(He has already)

  • IK11 on August 9, 2010, 22:36 GMT

    Very touching.I am deeply impressed by the guts he showed in his debut test match.He displayed nerves of steel.What a gutsy player! I sincerely wish that he replaces kamran forever.I hope he's given a fair run to prove himself.

  • Mustafa7 on August 9, 2010, 17:09 GMT

    Zulqarnain's inclusion in the team occurred in order to block the way for strong candidate Sarfraz Ahmed but Kamran Akmal's luck was so bad that even moderate guessed (in terms of batting skills only) wicketkeeper came out so strong that hardly Kamran Akmal stand with the chance of appearing again in the series.

  • Cricfan27 on August 9, 2010, 15:45 GMT

    Good luck Zulqarnain! Hope u will not turn like the betrayers/ traitors after achieving something in life.

  • on August 9, 2010, 15:39 GMT

    Good Luck Zoni (Zulqarnain) !!!!! I am his childhood neighbor at Link Road Model Town, when we were used to play tennis ball early in morning together, he was 6-7 years younger of most of our that morning cricket playing circle. I still remember it was never an easy task to get his wicket on his turn. he was always an obvious choice of wicket keeper. Anyhow ... have a lot of great memories of that time. About his test match performance, i can see he was very much confident he just loose his wicket in bit some hurry ... otherwise a debut century was there for him ... BEST OF LUCK ZONI .... U WILL ROCK .... U WILL BE PROUD OF UR NATION :) GOOD LUCK

  • aravindar on August 9, 2010, 10:27 GMT

    Being every bit Indian, I still watched the whole match yesterday and particularly wanting this guy Haider play well, donno why, he reminded me of my own idol the 'Wall' Rahul Dravid.

  • on August 9, 2010, 9:48 GMT

    as a sri lankan i saluute zulqarnain for his journey of success.... may allah giv him strength!!! GOOD LUCK!!!

  • on August 9, 2010, 8:15 GMT

    MashaAllah . God bless u.

  • Twenty20virgin on August 9, 2010, 8:10 GMT

    For the sake of Pak bowlers and world cricket, this kid should be keeping and not Kamran!

  • Aasim_Waheed on August 9, 2010, 6:13 GMT

    I liked his attitude and mental toughness of this boy. He is a real fighter. Wish him all the best in his career. I think now we will have Moin Khan/Rashid Latif kind of Scenerio. Now we will have Kamran/Zulqurnain sceerio. Good for Pakistan.

  • on August 9, 2010, 6:04 GMT

    Zulqarnain's 88 in the second innings was one of the best innings i have ever seen.Iam sure he is a great talent and a very stylish batsmen.Hope he makes pakistan proud(He has already)

  • on August 9, 2010, 5:43 GMT

    An inspiring story to say the least & given what he has accomplished in his first test as a batsman, I hope & pray that it will reflect on his keeping and his confidence. I love tall wicketkeepers & grew up watching and practicing to dive like Saleem Yousaf. Amazing keeper and a batsman of some character he was. I see Zulqarnain following his footsteps Insha'Allah.

  • sherishahmir on August 9, 2010, 5:25 GMT

    Addition of Zulqarnain is good for Pak as we all seen his batting talent yesterday which gave some pride to Pak. I guess playing continously by Kamran since almost 2003 is one of the major reason of his detoriation, otherwise he is also a natural keeper and a very talented crickter and did lot for Pak crciket.

    In the end i would say pak does not have dearth of talented players its only requires good governance and effective management of PCB so Pak can regain its glory back in WC.

  • on August 9, 2010, 0:12 GMT

    What a nice kid! I wish him well and I hope he has a long and successful career. Kamran Akmal can retire now and take his spoil brother with him.

  • AliOnline on August 8, 2010, 23:08 GMT

    Zulqarnain. What a beautiful name. You are such a great cricketer and such an excellent human being. I hope you make it hugeeee!!! All The Best!!!

  • Zahidsaltin on August 8, 2010, 21:58 GMT

    ZULQARNAIN, Now concentrate on your keeping. Don't drop catches plz. I feel you have a problem picking the ball while cutting on legside, specially by a spinner.

  • Zahidsaltin on August 8, 2010, 21:52 GMT

    Shabash Zulqarnain. What an innings of 88. Since you were on 81, I was praying to God that u don't play uppish shots until you reach ur 100 but u did exactly that. Anyway it was nice to see some one fight it out. I hope you consult Mohammad Yosef for correction of some of your techniques while playing fast bowlers. Good luck

  • on August 8, 2010, 20:43 GMT

    May Allah rest her ammi's soul in jannah.. I have a very little experience of serving cancer patient.. That article really made me cry, remind my friends trauma!! May Allah bless always bless him too.. Allah recovered him MASHALLAH from very dangerous disease "soft tissue ewing sarcoma", very rare type in the world in just 1year. It was nothin else than a MIRACLE for all of us..

    Brother Zulqarnain, my all wishes are with you and your family.. May Allah give your sister and father a complete healthy life.. We, the nation, will pray for them inshallah :)

  • on August 8, 2010, 19:59 GMT

    when i first watch him i told him he is going 2 play fr pakistani team iam happy fr him.

  • on August 8, 2010, 18:56 GMT

    good lord man!! I played on the mohalla roads and I kept wickets too, not in a decade of keeping in tape ball cricket did I ever contemplate diving for the ball... just the thought is painful... you deserve everything that comes your way Zulqarnain.... @Nauman Malik: As I have said before here, Pakistan needs a specialist wicket keeper, that is exactly what Zulqarnain is, Sarfraz Ahmed is just an other version of Kamran Akmal, they should be considered for ODI's but in Test cricket the wicket keeper probables should now be Zulqarnain Haider, Gulraiz Sadaf and Mohammad Salman. But as we all know, the next series or at the latest the 4th test, will have Kamran bumbling behind the stumps once more.

  • on August 8, 2010, 18:55 GMT

    I am still findiing words for u Zulqanain but, i cant. I would say only one thing " MAY ALL MOTHERS HAVE A SON LIKE U". May ALLAH bless u, and U and i wish U ride ur luck and play years & years for PAKISTAN with pride & dignity.

  • HasanMobeen on August 8, 2010, 18:45 GMT

    Well done ZQ... U really did best for ur country as well ur family...

  • on August 8, 2010, 18:43 GMT

    now its time 2 say kamran akmal 2 bye bye .......... brilliant haider socre 88 say PAKISTAN 4rm an innings defeat.........GOD bless u

  • AhmadSaleem on August 8, 2010, 18:42 GMT

    boy what a knock... absolutely speechless

  • CricFan810 on August 8, 2010, 18:38 GMT

    Look what he has done..!!! 88 from 200 balls and lifted the spirits of Pakistani team and nation.. His father is still in comma.. in hospital.. Haider knows about his father's condition .. But his father don't know about his son.. :'( .. Emotional, very emotional indeed..

  • on August 8, 2010, 17:56 GMT

    Well done Zulqarnain! Wonderful knock of 88. He deserved century. He looks confident & I wonder how he got out cheaply in the first innings of his debut test. Looks to last long and has certainly given competition to Kamran Akmal.

  • on August 8, 2010, 16:09 GMT

    Its time to permanently axe the hopeless Kamran Akmal.

  • mattpagezk on August 8, 2010, 15:58 GMT

    Very pleased to see Zulqarnain make a half century. Well played!

  • saccs76 on August 8, 2010, 13:47 GMT

    A very emotional story..... I wish Zulqarnain all the best and hope he stamps his place. For the question that Nauman asked below, the only reason I can think of as far as Sarfraz Ahmed was not selected and instead Zulqarnain is the simple fact that Sarfraz is from Karachi and Zulqarnain is from Lahore. Yes, sarfraz is slightly better than Zulqarnain as far as wicketkeeping technique is concerned, but you know, dirty politics shows its ugly face every now and then.... it is disheartening to notice that karachi players don't have much of a chance to get into the international team..

  • smalishah84 on August 8, 2010, 9:56 GMT

    I wish Zulqarnain all the best..........a very well written article.........the last paragraph is very very touching.........his mother being treated at a hospital that was built in memory of the great Imran Khan's mother......a very moving article indeed. I hope he manages to keep Kamran Khatmal (Khatmal is an irritating insect) i mean Akmal out of the side.

  • on August 8, 2010, 9:16 GMT

    I think we should be happy to have Zulqurnian! He has been through alot in his life and survived it he is nervous if we just give him few more matches or time i know he will come through and turn out to be a great wicket keeper and batter good job young man

  • nafzak on August 8, 2010, 2:30 GMT

    The name Zulqarnain is unique and is taken from Al Qur'an. This young man has gone through a lot already and his experiences will only help him in playing for Pakistan, which is always in some sort of crisis and turmoil. One only hope and prays that the selectors are not hasty and give the young man enough time for his talent to shine. Pakistan is one of the youngest test teams and in a few years, perhaps as early as the WC, they will be a force to reckon with.

    Mohamed Z. Rahaman (Guyana)

  • monteath on August 7, 2010, 23:14 GMT

    WAY TO GO YOUNG MAN! YOU NEED TO FOCUS WITH SMART HARD WORK ,TECHNICS, AND ALWAYS STRIVE TO BE BETTER THIS WILL TAKE YOU ALONG WAY! DONT LET POLITICS OR MONEY BOTHER YOU IN LIFE, IT WILL COME IF IT HAS TO. SINCERE DETERMINED HARD WORK AND ALWAYS ASK THE SENIORS YOUR COLLEAGUES FOR ADVISE AND SUGGESTIONS. WRITE TO WELL KNOWN WICKET KEEPERS IN ALL THE CRICKET PLAYING ICC MEMBERS AND TAKE FURTER ADVISE. MABRUKH IN YOUR PASSION FOR THE GAME. BEST WISHES -KEVIN

  • on August 7, 2010, 22:58 GMT

    Broad squared him up first time up but then again it was just his first test match. sooner or later the nerves will settle down and he'll have a proper chance to bat. the guy needs time. i wish good luck.

  • on August 7, 2010, 20:52 GMT

    Zulqarnain C'mon bro im with u , lest play kamran as a batsman

  • on August 7, 2010, 20:17 GMT

    very sad to know that her mother died of a cancer, wish hime all the luck for his career.

  • on August 7, 2010, 16:28 GMT

    A tear jerking story. Good luck mate, you're good :)

  • AhmadSaleem on August 7, 2010, 14:48 GMT

    Zulqarnain doesnt look world class. His glove work is not that neat. Not sure about his batting skills. Kamran has struggled in England only. He has been good if not great in Asia and had an exceptional series in West Indies. He kept well in South Africa and had one bad test in Australia.

  • on August 7, 2010, 13:58 GMT

    Thanks for sharing Nagraj! Never knew this about Zulqarnain. I wish him the best for him, his performance, the team, and his family. I have been waiting a long time for him as well ever since I knew he won the Under-19 World Cup I knew he should be the next wicketkeeper of Pakistan and he was taken as a reserve a few times and quite often was in the probables squads for the national team, but never got played in the final XI

  • on August 7, 2010, 13:43 GMT

    There are better wicket keepers in the country. He is not not natural when it comes to wicket keeping and he is an ordinary batsman. Two test perhaps will be too many for him and they will bring back Kamran again. where is Sarfraz Ahmed??? not even in the A Team. If he was not good enough why was selected ahead of zulqarnain .

  • RockykeRambos on August 7, 2010, 13:41 GMT

    Hats off to you Zulqurnain!!!You have seen so much in such a young age.I do hope that it wud have made you a tough and a mature cricketer.God bless you bro.

  • on August 7, 2010, 12:07 GMT

    good luck zulqurnain.......

  • on August 7, 2010, 11:10 GMT

    wishing him a promising start in his carear. there are lot of chances for him if he prove and show his talent behind the wicket, and also as a reliable batsman, There are lot of chances for youngesters to be given chances in national team unfurtunaitly the youngsters like umor amin,umar akmal, Azahar Ali and other did not proved themselves to be yet fit for the test standard.

  • on August 7, 2010, 11:07 GMT

    i think Kamran Ukmal is very best he is the main batsman of Pakistan teem in one day & t20 matches , Zulqarnain Haider take very time to cover the Kamran Akmal place . Kamran Akmal is the best batsman he won many matches for pakistan so please dont disturb to Kamran Akmal and Also Pakistan Cricket not cricket board

  • on August 7, 2010, 11:04 GMT

    im sure he will produce some good cricket. well at this time pakistan team in big trouble

  • on August 7, 2010, 10:27 GMT

    The one of the biggist weakness of kamran Akmal was when the ball was moving his hand was not rotating. If you are keeper and ball is just coming to you either batsman play the shot or miss or edgy or leave the ball alone your gloves must be closed at time ball coming to you. But Kami's main problem is that his gloves not close. Another main reason that I explore; kamran relying a lot on the top class batsman like Hussy, Sachin, Kallis. Because he knows the player's class so his gloves always open

  • Archangel_HMS on August 7, 2010, 10:26 GMT

    please remove kamaran akmal for a long long time and give hyder a chance.....im sick of kami missing catches and screwing pakistan and its chances over .......ZH is truly humble and inshallah i feel that he should do well

  • on August 7, 2010, 10:25 GMT

    kamrana akmal is and forever be the greatest wicketkeeper batsman pakistan has ever produced...

  • on August 7, 2010, 10:25 GMT

    i think it will good to c a new face again intro by PAK board hahaha

  • on August 7, 2010, 9:30 GMT

    We have been hoping and praying that the Pakistan team gets a good wicketkeeper (anyone could be better than Kamran Akmal). We wish Zulqarnain becomes our permanent keeper. He seems to have the potential. Let's hope he bats well in the 2nd innings and secures a place in the national side. God Bless you.

  • CricFan810 on August 7, 2010, 9:26 GMT

    tears have rolled down my cheeks.. :) what can i say... :) very emotional piece of writing.. i wish him all the best and may he performs to the best of his potential for the team's cause..!

  • AmitBhanot on August 7, 2010, 9:25 GMT

    Never mind this match. It would have been trying for anyone let alone a debutant. But the good thing is dat someone other than Akmal is considered. I rem the way he made his brother sit out when he ws dropped for a match in Australia. Pakistan needs players who think for their country instead of for themselves. Unfortunately its only the fast bowlers who seem to have some sort of pride in them

  • shaantanu on August 7, 2010, 9:22 GMT

    wish u all the best man.simply because of ur love for ur mother

  • Taz786 on August 7, 2010, 9:15 GMT

    The First thing a keeper should do, is be good at his job, batting comes as a bonus, Kamran Akmal was doing neither. Gilchrist & Dhoni are the exception to this, not everyone can play like them.

  • on August 7, 2010, 8:38 GMT

    He looks very solid behind the stumps. I don't care about the duck honestly. Conditions were very trying for anyone on debut. Just be good behind the wickets.

  • on August 7, 2010, 8:28 GMT

    Zulqurnain v r with u can do it !!!!!!

    Good Luck! God bless u !!!!!!

  • sani007 on August 7, 2010, 7:54 GMT

    THE FIRST MATCH OF IMRAN KHAN WAS THE WORST OF ALL DONT GIVE UP BECAUSE HUM SAE HAI ZAMANA...!!!MAKE PAKISTAN PROUD@

  • on August 7, 2010, 7:41 GMT

    he shud be given more chance in this series ??

  • rzi-BDML on August 7, 2010, 7:17 GMT

    a first ball duck and a drop catch on debut, lets forget it. u hav another chance, dont wory dude, relax now the pressure of debut is over. I PRAY for your suceess.

  • cyberstudent on August 7, 2010, 7:02 GMT

    Inshallah he will play a long inning next time, and he should be given chance in the rest of the tour, because if he is rejected this time then he may not get the opportunity till akmal's retirement, so plz give him some time to prove himself.

  • on August 7, 2010, 6:58 GMT

    Wish you good luck Zony By god's grace your dreams may come true.Wish your dad a speedy recovery. Gooch started his first international innigs with a duck. If you can have half a career as Goochie. you would be taunted as a legend mate. GOOD LUCK.

  • on August 7, 2010, 6:09 GMT

    Whats about Zulfiqar Jan who toped 1st Class tournament 8 times but he didn't a chance because he have no relation with PCB administration i think he deserve as a replacement of Kamran Akmal

  • on August 7, 2010, 5:38 GMT

    Want to see u at ur best .... Kamran Akmal enjoyed a long monoply even his poor form has costed many test matches and one day matches to Pakistan... his over confidence and stuborn nature not to leave the team when he knows that he is not 100% fit and performing make him a selfish cricketer ...... U should come up and with ur extra ordinary performance kick out Kamran... thts the need of time

  • on August 7, 2010, 5:18 GMT

    Never mind the drop catch. Give it your best mate. It's about time some one replaced that clown behind the stumps.

  • on August 7, 2010, 5:04 GMT

    keep it up dude but you will stay in only if you can bat well !!!

  • zingzangspillip on August 7, 2010, 2:54 GMT

    I hope Zulqarnain gets the rest of the series. He hasn't had a great start, but since the other keeper in the team is Kamran, he deserves a good chance. Having now heard a bit of his story, I hope even more that he gets a good chance, because he's obviously a hard worker.

    Good luck Zulqarnain!

  • sundermagy on August 7, 2010, 2:18 GMT

    Amazing article...am really moved by the struggles he faced to come to top level. These guys need to be given more chances and I really hope Pakistan should be little more patient with newcomers and pls do not judge by one bad performance

  • lucyferr on August 7, 2010, 2:16 GMT

    I hope Pakistan treats him better than England treated Chris Read.

  • on August 6, 2010, 22:58 GMT

    ALLAH SWT Tumhari Madad Karay Ameen , a painful story!

  • rohangetzu on August 6, 2010, 22:18 GMT

    DOn wry bro..!! Go and save your country..Even the gr8 Ricky Ponting was scored golden duck in his debut match..Cheer up..!!! Hope you wil be a good international player..Stick to basics you can acheive..

    Cheers Jus Rohan

  • landl47 on August 6, 2010, 21:52 GMT

    Best of luck- let's face it, it can only get better.

  • on August 6, 2010, 21:18 GMT

    I will LIKE TO salute this brave boi...MAY ALLAH BLESS HIM....

  • on August 6, 2010, 21:10 GMT

    Inspiring. Inshallah you will have a great future. You have put your head into this so far. Now, it's up to you to take it further. Go on kid!

  • ztk038 on August 6, 2010, 21:06 GMT

    We need to see your magic in 2nd innings i.e A brilliant 100, to take the Pakistan out of deep trouble and very much hopeful to see a born of a new star for Pakistan. You must be ready and confident for that. best of luck Zulqarnain.

  • on August 6, 2010, 21:03 GMT

    WELLDONE BEHIND STUPS ZULKARNAIN BHAI.. FORGET ABOUT THE CATCH DROPPED . EVEN KAMI BHAI DID THE SAME IN FIRST TEST BUT YOU ARE TECHNICALLY VERY MUCH STRONG. U JUST CONENTRATE ON YOUR GAME AND MAY GOD HELP YOU OUT WHEN U GO ON TO BAT IN THE SECOND INNINGS... I HOPE SO TAHT U CONTINUE TO PLAY AS A WICKET KEEPER AND KAMI BHAI AS A SPECIALIST BATSMAN SO THE BALANCE REMAINS EVEN. BEST OF LUCK ..

  • Hassan.Farooqi on August 6, 2010, 20:38 GMT

    Should have been Sarfaraz.

  • Himoon on August 6, 2010, 20:34 GMT

    hahahaha i know him, used to play tape ball cricket with him at link road model town Lahore. what a lovely chap he is. Good to see him playing for Pakistan. I hope he excels to the highest ranks InshaAllah!! Wish him best of luck!!

  • on August 6, 2010, 19:39 GMT

    Impressed with his wicket keeping, he is way better then kamran akmal now all he has to do is display some batting skills as well, as he is fully capable of scoring some quick runs with the bat, all the best young kid.

  • US_Indian on August 6, 2010, 19:29 GMT

    Great to see someone coming from a tough back ground who struggled to make it to the top unlike those pampered children of affluent families and political connections. Keep the good work ,strive for excellence (as Aamir khan says in the film 3 Idiots) rewards and recognition will come automatically.Please stick to the basics and also hold yourself against all kinds of ills this "adolation-recognition-money i.e Daulat and Shohrat brings in" stay firm on the ground and do not let this get into your head and dont forget what your parents have inculcated in you. You have many examples from your own country guys like Javed Miandad, Yousuf (youhana) who came from humble backgrounds and guys like Azharuddin, Dhoni, Abid Ali, Solkar, Kapil Dev, L.Sivaramakrisnan, Vinod Kambli to name a few who came from a low level to reach the highest pinnacle but some lost their way in the middle, so learn from thier mistakes and stay put, you will be successful. i am Indian and I always love guys like U.

  • Bilal_Akram on August 6, 2010, 19:25 GMT

    Best of luck mate. You have worked hard and hard work never goes in vain. Wish you all the best.

  • Desihungama on August 6, 2010, 19:06 GMT

    Zulqarnain - It was heartening to have read your story. I sincerely wish good luck to you and your family. I am sensing you are disciplines, mature and responsible enough. That's food for thought for other team members. Good Luck to you promising young man!.

  • MuhammadAyyob on August 6, 2010, 18:46 GMT

    In mordern day cricket it is not keeping only, you have to show guts with bat too. I am sure you will focus on both the aspects of your game. Good Luck.

  • bharath74 on August 6, 2010, 18:38 GMT

    U are a fighter in real life, now its ur turn to fight for a place in Pak team, i am sure u will find success. God bless u.

  • on August 6, 2010, 18:30 GMT

    Touching story.Zulqarnain Haider is a great name...i wish you to give it a new meaning!

  • on August 6, 2010, 18:22 GMT

    GOD BLESS YOU ZULQARNAIN HAIDER.....I WISH U FOR A BRIGHT FUTURE !!!

  • Falaky on August 6, 2010, 18:12 GMT

    inshAllah our best wishes with you, Zulqarnain! No one would have worded any better than what you did, Nagraj Gollapudi...its truly a master piece!

  • on August 6, 2010, 18:10 GMT

    He seems very barve guy and deserves to be part of the now regularly cuz pakistan cant afford to so many drops from Akmal

  • Theeban_Tavarasa on August 6, 2010, 17:49 GMT

    Wish you good luck Zony By god's grace your dreams may come true.Wish your dad a speedy recovery. Gooch started his first international innigs with a duck. If you can have half a career as Goochie. you would be taunted as a legend mate. GOOD LUCK.

  • Toescrusher on August 6, 2010, 17:33 GMT

    A touching story of Zulqarnain; I hope that the events he faced will make him a greater fighter of the game. As he becomes successful he should donate more and more not only to Shaukat Khanum Hospital but to all over the world.

    Traditionally wicket keepers are from Karachi; Kamram Akmal and Zulqarnain are very few names in the ranking of wicket keepers from Lahore - Kamran solely survived behind the stumps because of his batting not because of his keeping. It will be very good sign for Pakistan cricket if Zulqarnain can hold this place for long time; since he is an orthodox wicket keeper and now he has the opportunity there is no reason why he can not prove himself. Basically a wicket keeper should contribute about 45 runs other than that his main focus should be on wicket kipping only that what's team and nation needs from him. In my opinion Kamran is better off playing as an opener; this can also aid to resolve the opening problem in Pakistan team.

  • klobania on August 6, 2010, 16:55 GMT

    i hope u will make something great inshallah in international cricket sooner than later. best of luck

  • satanswish on August 6, 2010, 16:52 GMT

    His wicketkeeping looks much better than Akmal's butter hands.

  • sarkar_ayan on August 6, 2010, 16:37 GMT

    this is one of the best stories indeed...everyone likes a cindrella man...i hope Haider does well...although he has scored duck today..but i somehow have this feeling one day he will make not only pakistan cricket but the whole cricket fraternity proud! :) :)

  • on August 6, 2010, 16:14 GMT

    Very sad story about his life and I wish him all the very best! I am a Sri Lankan but I do follow Pakistnai cricket a bit and I just hope Pakistan can somehow turn things around and be more competitive!

  • KarachiKid on August 6, 2010, 15:55 GMT

    They will bring back Kamran Akmal in next test match or next seriers. There is some hidden relationship between Kamran Akmal, Shoaib Malik and this stupid Butt (ijaz Butt). Salman Butt is a joke himself, he should first work on his own technique before considering techniques of others. By the way the first innings shows that he is no different. He is part and parcel of this spineless batting lineup....

  • Karthik_0806 on August 6, 2010, 15:53 GMT

    Wish you all the best and hope you become a great cricketer for your country

  • dmqi on August 6, 2010, 15:26 GMT

    Nagraj, I like your blogs. You are very positive an constructive. Best of luck for this new wicket keeper. He is very handsome too. I hope he does not follow Azhar Uddin of India in his married life but follow him in his cricket success.

  • Desihungama on August 6, 2010, 15:18 GMT

    You go Zulqarnain. You are one brave soul. Shoaib Malik would have called in sick if he was at your place the way they (PCB) threw you to lion's den. It was heartening to have read your story. You sound like a mature, responsible and desciplined person and that is exactly what our current team lacks. My good wishes are with you and your family. Good Luck.

  • orlurmsana on August 6, 2010, 15:15 GMT

    I just hope he continues to play even if he gets a duck in every innings. He would still be useful than that "MR Great batsman who always fails with the bat and drops catches".

  • on August 6, 2010, 15:00 GMT

    Pakistan needs technically and mentally strong people...

  • on August 6, 2010, 14:54 GMT

    amazing amazing article.. it has been a very tuf journey so far for zulqarnain bt he seems to be an athletic keeper and certainly has shown tat he has the talent to excel in this level..

  • AsrafHakh on August 6, 2010, 14:53 GMT

    I dont wanna change the tempo here but each cricketer has some background worth mentioning.Talking of tears..let me see him score centuries after centuries and outclass the current slums in the pakistani team then I may weep considering his past struggle

  • haroonalvi on August 6, 2010, 14:50 GMT

    With everything going against you, you have proved what a fighter you are. I hope our selectors put faith in you and get rid of that specialist batsman akmal (who also happens to keep the wickets).

  • Crick-3t on August 6, 2010, 14:48 GMT

    God blees U I hope your dreams come true

  • on August 6, 2010, 14:38 GMT

    wish u best of luck boi...tough time to be in but I hope ur dreams'll come true:)

  • Lovetesh on August 6, 2010, 14:28 GMT

    Pakistan cricket team needs fighters like this. I hope he would be given fair amount of chances at top level. Good luck to him!!

  • Vijayendra on August 6, 2010, 14:28 GMT

    wow. a good article ina long long time. lovely. all the best Zulqarnain. hope you do well and achieve all that you are destined to.

    Regards, Vijayendra D

  • on August 6, 2010, 14:03 GMT

    thats emotional...poor boy...i hope he goes on for a long time and excel... :)

  • on August 6, 2010, 14:00 GMT

    Wish you All the Best Man, you can make difference ...

  • ww113 on August 6, 2010, 14:00 GMT

    Beautifully written.Such a poignant story.As for Zulqarnain's ambition of scoring a hundred,these days the entire Pakistan team does not got to the 100 mark !

  • on August 6, 2010, 13:48 GMT

    best of luck... play hard, win for ur family, win for pakistan

  • rovar on August 6, 2010, 13:29 GMT

    All the very best to Zulqarnain for his future as a test cricketer. Wishing your dad get full and speedy recovery, and best of luck. Hope pakistan will take a lesson & will continue picking wk as a keeper first & then a batsman.As they say catches win matches, every catch is vital in international match. I hope they will stick to their decision of picking wk & not goalkeeper. so stick to Zulqarnain & not Robert Green........sorry Kamran Akmal.

  • FunkyRaj on August 6, 2010, 13:25 GMT

    What a touching story. I hope Zulqarnain seals his spot in this Pakistan team and makes his family even more proud.

  • on August 6, 2010, 13:22 GMT

    WOW i definitely pray that one day he becomes the best wicketkeeper in the world.. AMEEN May ALLAH bless him :) Gudluck Haider :)

  • sabirshah on August 6, 2010, 13:10 GMT

    May Almighty Allah give health to ZulQarnain's Dad...wish him get well soon...even if he's out on DUCK, walking in to the ground with such a tremendous pressure has won our hearts. And Pakistan 36/6....(tell mesomethingnew,hahaha)

  • on August 6, 2010, 13:09 GMT

    Good to see someone rising from the ground and reaching at the top. Not every Pakistani is born bilawal zardari nor we need any.

  • primary_club_platinum on August 6, 2010, 13:09 GMT

    A very moving story. Good luck Zulqarain.

    Could someone perhaps post a link to the site for the hospital? Or a donations website?

  • naeem1984 on August 6, 2010, 13:08 GMT

    Good luck Zulqarnain, you have high ambitions, and you are going towards right direction. Wish you become founder of another state of art cancer hospital in Pakistan.

  • on August 6, 2010, 13:03 GMT

    all the best..do well in 2nd innnings!

  • Joji_ on August 6, 2010, 12:55 GMT

    I have tears in my eyes. May this boy become tomorrows super star !!!

  • K.A.K on August 6, 2010, 12:51 GMT

    Good Luck Zulqarnain!.You are joining the squad at a tough time. Every player on the side has talent and skills. It comes down to mental frame of mind and how you compose yourself. Wishing your dad get full and speedy recovery, and best of luck.

  • on August 6, 2010, 12:43 GMT

    the second eldest.....really?

  • muhammad.kamran on August 6, 2010, 12:42 GMT

    Poor Zulqarnain was selected in a wrong team

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • muhammad.kamran on August 6, 2010, 12:42 GMT

    Poor Zulqarnain was selected in a wrong team

  • on August 6, 2010, 12:43 GMT

    the second eldest.....really?

  • K.A.K on August 6, 2010, 12:51 GMT

    Good Luck Zulqarnain!.You are joining the squad at a tough time. Every player on the side has talent and skills. It comes down to mental frame of mind and how you compose yourself. Wishing your dad get full and speedy recovery, and best of luck.

  • Joji_ on August 6, 2010, 12:55 GMT

    I have tears in my eyes. May this boy become tomorrows super star !!!

  • on August 6, 2010, 13:03 GMT

    all the best..do well in 2nd innnings!

  • naeem1984 on August 6, 2010, 13:08 GMT

    Good luck Zulqarnain, you have high ambitions, and you are going towards right direction. Wish you become founder of another state of art cancer hospital in Pakistan.

  • primary_club_platinum on August 6, 2010, 13:09 GMT

    A very moving story. Good luck Zulqarain.

    Could someone perhaps post a link to the site for the hospital? Or a donations website?

  • on August 6, 2010, 13:09 GMT

    Good to see someone rising from the ground and reaching at the top. Not every Pakistani is born bilawal zardari nor we need any.

  • sabirshah on August 6, 2010, 13:10 GMT

    May Almighty Allah give health to ZulQarnain's Dad...wish him get well soon...even if he's out on DUCK, walking in to the ground with such a tremendous pressure has won our hearts. And Pakistan 36/6....(tell mesomethingnew,hahaha)

  • on August 6, 2010, 13:22 GMT

    WOW i definitely pray that one day he becomes the best wicketkeeper in the world.. AMEEN May ALLAH bless him :) Gudluck Haider :)