“The star of today, hero of tomorrow”

Writer Fatima Faisal

“The star of today, hero of tomorrow”

In light of recent events; Social media, the internet and all sports channels have been proclaiming about the success of one man- Abid Ali. The 32 year old Lahori gave a remarkable yet enticing performance on march, 2019 against Australia in Dubai which was not just his lucky day due to his splendid century, but also because it was his one-day international debut. Though an exceptional performance, there were only a few to take notice of Ali’s superlative talent including sports analyst, Asif Ahmed who stated in an interview prior to Ali’s performance, “I could not find a single flaw in his performence. Perhaps, our selectors would be keen on finding faults instead of praising Ali’s batting as a reason to deter his entrance in the national team.”

So why is it that despite Ali’s commendable skills, he was unnoticeable for so long? It seems as though one major reason was the position of none other than Imam Ul Haq, the nephew of previous chairman selection committee, Inzimam Ul Haq. Imam and Ali have had a tough competition amongst one another and despite Ali’s marvellous performances in the past, Imam continued to win the spotlight by being selectors favourite choice. Nevertheless, Ali kept his passion in sight and proved to fall to the expectations of those who truly believed in him.

After his awe-inspiring performance against Australia, Ali once again proved himself in the test match against Srilanka which led him to become the hearthrob of Pakistan. On the eve of 15th december, 2019, Ali scored yet another century in his test debut against Sri Lanka which eventually led him to being the first male cricketer in the history to have made a century in both his debut’s. Indeed, it was a day filled with enthusiasm and zeal for the youth of Pakistan as the stadium rose in excitement and chanted Ali’s name on the top of their lungs to laud the cricketer on his marvellous performance. The atmosphere swelled with pride and once again, history had been paved by none other than our own country man- A prosperous moment to cherish forever.

Though the recent success has shed light upon the true talent Ali is engraved with; It has not been easy to pave the way towards international cricket. The road was rather bumpy, and circumstances hectic as he step a foot ahead to follow his passion.

Ali’s first class debut in domestic career was made in december 2007 during which he played for Lahore Ravi in the Quaid-E-Azam trophy. However, it seemed as though Ali’s career had come to a hault post his performance. With no associations reaching out and almost no recognition, Ali’s cricket career was going downhill day after day. It had almost come at the expense of his family life when his wife asked him to drop his cricket career due to lack of recognition of his talent. However, the bigger obstacle lay in the expenses of his very young daughter which were becoming unbearable as days passed. With a very moderate income and increasing expenses, life was only taking a tougher turn for Ali. Despite the pressure and reluctance faced, Ali was determined and passionate to achieve his goal of becoming a cricketer. His hardwork never diminished, and his willpower never withered. Though his next big break took a significant amount of time, it was a deal breaker. In October 2017, Ali played for Islamabad against National bank of Pakistan when he scored 231 in the Quaid-E-Azam trophy. The same league, Ali managed to become the lead run-scorer for Islamabad scoring about 541 runs in seven matches.

A few months later, Ali was seen playing the Regional One Day Cup tournament in February 2018 when he scored 209 not out against Peshawar. This was known to be be the highest List A score by a Pakistani batsman as Ali became the fourth batsman from Pakistan to score 200 runs or more in a List A match. A brilliant triumph for the youngster. Moving on to a few months later, it was not a surprise to many when Ali scored 109 runs in Federal Areas’ second match In April 2018 giving his team a magnificent victory by 149 runs.

Perhaps these outstanding performances were the prime reason why Ali became unstoppable and left selectors no choice but to give this deserving man a chance. Surely, Ali did not disappoint and on 15th december became the pride of Pakistan by setting a world record of completing a century in both: ODI and test debut.

Abid Ali’s story is an emotional rollercoaster. A story which reminds us that with true passion, dedication and patience comes sweet reward. Ali’s story is one to be inspired from. When days were rainy and hope was lost, he still believed in himself and practiced to become better which is why he has attained such a big place in the heart of every cricket fanatic in Pakistan today. Ali has proved to become an icon, a role model and an example for those youngsters who are currently struggling in the name of their passion. Those youngsters, who are just as filled with determination and passion for the sport we call our favourite, like once upon Ali was.

We look forward to seeing Ali play more often and we eminently hope that selectors become more keen of this rising star. Ali is set to be Pakistan’s rising hero and the title gives complete justice considering his drive, devotion and diligence towards the sport. Our heart’s are filled with nothing but gratitude and we wish the cricketer all the luck for his coming years in national cricket.