Azam Khan ecstatic after Pakistan’s call-up

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ABU DHABI: Hard-hitting young batsman Azam Khan has said that he has been rewarded by God for his hard work and got a call up in the Pakistan T20 squad for the tours of England and the West Indies.

“Yes, I was hopeful but was not expecting an early call. Allah has rewarded me for the hard work which I extended during the last one year,” Azam said after his selection.

Azam, 22, is the son of former Pakistan captain and Test wicket-keeper Moin Khan. Making his PSL debut in 2019 season in Abu Dhabi Azam’s inclusion in the PSL initially invited criticism, especially  his bulky structure he had. But the powerful hitter slowly silenced his critics with some stunning knocks in the PSL. Having played just one first-class match, 15 List A matches and 36 T20s Azam has not only worked harder on his fitness but also on his batting skills.

He has reduced ten kilogramme weight in just two months at the High Performance Centre.

“Yes I did hard work and reduced ten kilogramme weight. My stamina also got improved,” Azam said. His father Moin Khan remains key behind his success and he has kept his son under a tight check and made him disciplined in his work.

“My father kept telling me that I required hard work and I just acted on his advice and worked extremely hard during the last one year,” Azam said.

Azam said that he would try to work more harder and play for Pakistan for long. “I don’t want to just represent Pakistan but to play for the country for long time like our legends who served Pakistan for 15 to 20 years,” Azam said.

He said that definitely pressure would be there but those players who handle it become big stars. “I will definitely try my level best to compete,” Azam said. He acknowledged the support of several people which enabled him to hone his skills and become capable enough to compete for a slot in Pakistan team.

“Quetta Gladiators manager Azam Khan has a big role in my career. I am part of his club Alamgir Gymkhana which has also produced players like Saad Ali and Ahsan Ali. Gladiators head Nadeem Omar called me big big and encouraged me all the time. Sarfraz Ahmed provided me with a golden opportunity to play for Gladiators in the PSL at such a number where I could perform. Sarfaraz knew that I could deliver. In training I was helped by Shehzar Mohammad,” Azam said.

“I am also thankful to my mother who kept praying for me. She wanted to see me play for Pakistan and today her desire also got fulfilled. I have been also supported by my sister Fatima. She also used to criticise me. My elder brother Awais kept telling me things. Those who think about you also criticise you more and I say that my father is my big critic. Onward too I will learn from him,” Azam said. Azam literally wept when he was told by Gladiators Media Manager Nabeel that he had been named in Pakistan’s team.

“I was sitting for breakfast when Nabeel told me that I have been selected in Pakistan team. Initially I did not believe as I was thinking that he was joking. Later when I saw my name on the social media literally I started weeping. I left breakfast and went to inform my father. It was an emotional scene like in the films,” Azam said.

He said that it would be a great opportunity for him to learn from legends like Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq on the coming tours. “Both have been top cricketers and working under them will be more helpful for my future,” Azam said.

“Although I have not played in England but I have learnt from those cricketers, who have already the experience of playing there, about English conditions. The West Indies wickets are like that of Karachi and I am confident to play a role if given a chance,” Azam said.