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Saturday, June 15, 2024  
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Aamer Jamal reveals how he made it from a cab driver to Pakistan Test team

He registered the 6th best bowling figures for Pakistan on debut against Australia
Pakistan’s Aamer Jamal celebrates after taking a wicket during the first Test match between Pakistan and Australia in Perth - via X/@TheRealPCB
Pakistan’s Aamer Jamal celebrates after taking a wicket during the first Test match between Pakistan and Australia in Perth - via X/@TheRealPCB

“I did not play a lot of cricket for four years after playing U19 in 2014. I only got a few grade-II matches in a couple of seasons,” said Aamer Jamal, who took six wickets in his first Test match during Pakistan’s game against Australia.

His 6 for 111 were the 6th-best bowling figures by a Pakistani player on debut.

The all-rounder went to Australia after he was invited to play there as he could not get opportunities to play in the domestic circuit of Pakistan.

“During the season in Australia, I got to know about an upcoming Pakistan U23 tour and I immediately came back as I could not let go of my love for Pakistan. I had pinned hopes on making an impact in the upcoming grade-II season, but I was not selected by any side,” he said during an interview with the PCB in July after his selection in the Pakistan Test side for the tour of Sri Lanka.

According to Jamal, he bought a car on a bank lease and registered himself with ride-hailing services to support his family after he was not selected for the U23 team.

“For two years, right after Fajar (dawn) prayers, I used to get online and start working. From 5:00am until 10:30 in the morning, when people are going to offices, colleges and universities, I used to have my first shift. I would then bowl for two hours without any rest. After having a bit of food, whatever I could get my hands on, I used to bat and field,” he recalled.

The debutant’s daily work regime would not let him rest as he would not be able to return home until midnight owing to work and his practices. “Everyone would be asleep at home most of the times when I would arrive home.”

However, this struggle instilled punctuality as Jamal said that he valued things. “When you are forced to work hard and earn things, you value them,” he said.

Jamal had a stop-start beginning to his competitive cricket career. He had an impressive inter-regional U19 tournament in 2014 when he took 30 wickets at 16.97 in five matches after which he was named in Pakistan’s squad for an U19 series against Afghanistan in Lahore.

It would take him four years from there to break into first-class cricket with a debut for Pakistan Television in 2018, before he became a regular feature in domestic circuit from the 2020-21 season as he began to turn out for Northern regularly.

He impressed the nation through a brilliant last over when he defended 15 against an in-form Moeen Ali in Lahore to help Pakistan attain a 3-2 lead over England in the historic seven-match T20 series.

Following the series, Jamal, now aspiring for a spot in the Test side, rushed north to join his domestic side in Abbottabad for the ongoing Quaid-e-Azam Trophy.

He went on to finish as the best fast bowler and the second best overall in the tournament and played an integral role in his team securing their maiden first-class title as he took 31 wickets at 29.71 in nine matches and also recorded the best figures of the season.

Despite being named in the squad that toured Sri Lanka in July, he did not feature in the series. Jamal’s debut came a day earlier against Australia in the 3-match Test series.

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